People with dental phobia are more likely to have cavities or missing teeth, a new study from King’s College London has confirmed.

The latest study, published in the British Dental Journal, aimed to explore the social and demographic correlates of oral health and oral health-related quality of life of people with dental phobia compared to those who do not fear the dentist. The findings showed that people with dental phobia are more likely to have one or more decayed teeth, and missing teeth as well. The study showed that those with dental phobias reported that their oral health-related quality of life is poor.

Anxiety about visiting the dentist is common and becomes a phobia when it has a marked impact on someone’s well-being. The study analysed the data set from the Adult Dental Health Survey (2009) to look into the common oral health conditions of those with dental phobia.

The results from the study showed that dental-phobic people were more likely to have cavities in comparison to non-phobic respondents, and were likely to have one or more missing teeth. The report argued that this could be because many people with dental phobia avoid seeing a dentist on a regular basis to address oral conditions that are preventable and chronic in nature. Once a visit has been made, the phobic patient might also prefer a short-term solution instead of a long-term care plan, such as extraction.

The study also explored how dental phobia can affect someone’s quality of life, impacting on their physiological, psychological, social and emotional well-being.