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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 297-302

Social determinants of dental anxiety and utilization of oral health services among young adults in Mangalore City, India


1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Himachal Institute of Dental Sciences, Paonta Sahib, Himachal Pradesh, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. G Rajesh
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Mangalore, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_80_18

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Introduction: Dental anxiety is a known barrier to oral health-care utilization. The data on dental anxiety and oral health services utilization of young adults in India are scarce. Aim: The present study was conducted to assess the social determinants of dental anxiety and utilization patterns of oral health services among young adults aged 18–21 years in Mangalore city, India. Materials and Methods: A total of 575 young adults aged 18–21 years were selected from degree colleges in Mangalore city. Dental anxiety was assessed using the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale and utilization of oral health services was assessed using a questionnaire. Data were also collected on age, gender, and socioeconomic factors. Statistical analysis was done using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software. Level of statistical significance was fixed at P < 0.05. Results: The prevalence of dentally anxious individuals was 81.2%. The mean dental anxiety score of respondents was 14.69 ± 4.29. Females reported a statistically higher dental anxiety than males (P = 0.004). Participants with past negative dental experience also showed greater dental anxiety scores (P = 0.04). Dental anxiety was found to be negatively correlated with age (P = 0.003) and father's occupation (P = 0.037). A total of 48 (8.3%) individuals visited a dentist twice a year, whereas 79 (13.7%) individuals had never visited a dentist. The total number of irregular visitors was 448 (77.9%), out of which 268 respondents (46.6%) visited a dentist only for emergency treatments. Dental anxiety scores and utilization of dental health services did not show a statistically significant association. Conclusions: There was a high prevalence of dental anxiety in this population of young adults. Females and individuals with past negative dental experience showed significantly higher dental anxiety. Age and father's occupation were also correlated with dental anxiety. Focus on the social determinants and measures to reduce dental anxiety and improve oral health utilization are needed.


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