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Laugher found to be the best medicine for dental fear

Feb 24, 2012

Apparently laughter is not only good medicine, it also helps with the anxiety many people suffer during dental visits, according to a recent Swedish study.

The study by the University of Gothenburg said that 50 percent of adults suffer some degree of dental fear and about five percent have severe dental anxiety. Researchers found that optimism and an atmosphere that permits a patient to joke with dental staff help people manage stress during dental visits.

Study authors reported that people completing a questionnaire identified five primary means they use to combat dental fear:

  • Self-control. For example, self-talk where people told themselves they were strong enough to endure a procedure in spite of their fear.
  • Prayer
  • Optimism. During treatment dwelling on or visualizing about the procedure being over.
  • Distancing. Internalizing that they don’t really feel pain.
  • Self-distraction. Thinking about something else like a song or doing some other kind of mental activity.

The researchers learned from a second study that patients often use humor to deal with the anxiety of dental visits. University of Gothenburg researcher Jenny Bernson said that humor breaks down stress and psychological barriers between a dentist and a patient, creating a more relaxed and pleasant environment.

Interestingly, red heads are more likely to suffer severe dental phobias, according to an earlier American study.

Sources: National Institute of Health, Texas Dentistry at its Best

Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC ©

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