Dental fear-related cognitive vulnerability perceptions, dental prevention beliefs, dental visiting, and caries: A cross-sectional study in Madrid (Spain)

Maria Carrillo-Diaz, Antonio Crego, Jason M. Armfield, Martin Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective This study aimed to analyze the role that psychosocial elements may play concerning dental attendance and oral health in children. In particular, we explored the associations among dental fear-related cognitive vulnerability perceptions, dental prevention beliefs, the pattern of dental visits, and the number of decayed teeth. Methods A cross-sectional design was used to collect data from 250 Spanish schoolchildren who completed a questionnaire. Oral health status was evaluated by pediatric dentists. Statistical analyses were mainly based on binary logistic regression and multiple linear regression, which allowed us to test possible associations among variables as well as interaction and mediation effects. Results Children with more vulnerability-related cognitions (Adj. OR = 0.74 P < 0.05) and more unfavorable dental prevention beliefs (Adj. OR = 1.47 P < 0.01) were less likely to attend the dentist regularly. Moreover, the interaction between dental prevention beliefs and cognitive vulnerability perceptions was associated with more decayed teeth (β = -0.13 P < 0.05). The irregular pattern of dental visit, associated with fearful and unfavorable dental prevention cognitions, accounted for 20% of the effects of these variables on dental caries. Conclusion The combination of greater cognitive vulnerability-related perceptions and low awareness of the benefits of dental prevention increased the risk of dental caries. Children with this profile also tended to demonstrate a more inadequate pattern of dental attendance. Preventive oral health programs would benefit from considering the role of children's cognitions on their oral health habits and dental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-384
Number of pages10
JournalCommunity dentistry and oral epidemiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • cognitions
  • cognitive vulnerability
  • dental caries
  • dental fear
  • dental prevention beliefs
  • dental visits
  • oral health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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