Dental fear and anxiety in Estonian and Vietnamese schoolchildren: A comparative study of two populations

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Dental fear and anxiety (DFA) has the impact on the development of dental caries. Ethnic background and oral health care system may contribute to DFA model. The aim of the study was to compare DFA in relation to dental health between Estonian and Vietnamese schoolchildren and to determine DFA cutoff point for schoolchildren of two countries. The sample comprised 900 schoolchildren (344 from Estonia and 556 from Vietnam). DFA was measured by using 11 fear items of the modified Dental Subscale of the Children's Fear Survey Schedule (CFSS-DS). Dental health was recorded by using the dental caries experience index of mixed dentition (dmft/DMFT). Results showed that the mean score of dmft/DMFT in Estonian and Vietnamese schoolchildren was 5.2 ± 3.1 and 4.1 ± 3.2, respectively. The mean score of 11-item CFSS-DS of Vietnamese schoolchildren (20.8 ± 9.1) was significantly higher compared with Estonian schoolchildren (15.4 ± 4.4, p < 0.001). The DFA cutoff point of 11-item CFSS-DS in Estonian schoolchildren was 17.5, whereas in Vietnamese, it was 24.5. The lower ranking of DFA was significantly associated with Estonian schoolchildren who had more FT (p < 0.001). In conclusion, the level of DFA of schoolchildren was different in Estonia and Vietnam. Vietnamese schoolchildren had higher DFA scores and cutoff point of the modified CFSS-DS than Estonian schoolchildren. The obtained results suggest that DFA in schoolchildren can be related to oral health care system of each country.

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