New Study Linking College Students, Fear, and Poor Oral Health

Do college students need help going to the dentist or taking care of their teeth? One would think not, but a recent study indicates otherwise. There are multiple factors that can lead to poor dental health in college students. The dramatic change is lifestyle, the pressure of exams, and fear have all been suggested to contribute to poor oral health. Poor decisions in regards to hygiene, eating habits, and disregard for check-ups can lead a student to experience profound caries, infection and pain.

The new study was conducted in Finland at the University Of Oulu Faculty Of Medicine. The researchers sought to find a commonality among college students with poor dental health. Fear was the primary factor that the researchers accredited to abscesses, gingivitis and caries. They believed that the fear and anxiety that college students experienced was so bad that they purposely dealt with pain and discomfort just to avoid the dentist. Each first-year college student filled out a questionnaire that evaluated their health, including general information, psychological health, oral health, and health habits. To evaluate dental fear, the survey asked students to rate their level of fear when going to the dentist. After the survey, Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were used to determine the link between fear and poor oral health habits such as smoking, tooth brushing, eating and drinking habits, and dental visits per year.

The results were mixed. They reported a link between a high number of students with dental fear, tobacco use, and oral health. The students who smoked more, brushed their teeth less and reported to have high dental fear. The students who smoked less, brushed their teeth more and showed to have less dental fear. Another link that researchers found was between attitudes towards food. Students who were more open to eating a variety of foods and had an overall good attitude towards foods reported to have better oral health than students who had an abnormal attitude towards food. Ultimately, these poor habits that college students endure leads to the accumulation of poor dental health and an urgent need for dental treatment. Unfortunately, the fear that many of these students have of dentists prevent them from getting the treatment they require.

College students ought to be careful in developing consistent habits involved with oral health care, hygiene, and eating. Students who have high level of fear of dentists are at risk of developing poor dental health. The results of the study suggests that universities ought to provide students with information on dental health and healthy habits. They should also provide options for obtaining treatment.

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