Symptoms of depression and anxiety in relation to dental health behavior and self-perceived dental treatment need


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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the dental health behavior and self-perceived dental treatment need, in relation to depressive symptoms and symptoms of anxiety, among a general population drawn from a sample of 31-yr-old-men and women born in Northern Finland in 1966 (n = 8463). The dental health behavior included toothbrushing frequency and the frequency of dental check-ups. Depressive symptoms, as well as symptoms of anxiety, were determined on the basis of the Symptom Checklist-25 (SCL-25). The participants were also asked about their education and family income. Subjects with a high number of depressive symptoms had lower toothbrushing frequency as well as a lower frequency of dental visits than subjects with no or only a few depressive symptoms. Morover, the self-perceived dental treatment need was more common among those with a high number of depressive symptoms. Symptoms of anxiety were significantly associated with lower toothbrushing frequency. The results support the view that there is an increased risk for impaired dental health among subjects with depressive symptoms or symptoms of anxiety.

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