New Guide Could Help Reduce Dental Anxiety in Children

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Experts are hoping that a new guide will help to reduce dental anxiety in children.

The guide, which has been put together by staff from the School of Dentistry at the University of Sheffield, aims to use techniques such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to prevent dental fear and make children feel more comfortable when they go to the dentist.

Around a third of children experience anxiety when they go to the dental surgery. In order to tackle this issue, dental professionals decided to compile an online and paper guide that aims to make children feel more relaxed. The team found that the proportion of children who suffered from anxiety was reduced by 60 percent after using the guide. The leaflet outlines a number of exercises and techniques children can use to help combat anxiety, including writing a letter to the dentist and using a stress ball.

Dr Zoe Marshman explained that dental anxiety is a common problem among children and often it can lead to troubles later in life. Children who are scared of going to the surgery are more likely to experience dental health problems and they may also struggle with anxiety in adulthood. Tackling the issue of anxiety during childhood will hopefully help to improve standards of oral health and decrease the chances of anxiety further down the line.

The project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research. During the research process, the team worked with 48 children and their relatives. The findings of the study have recently been published in the JDR Clinical & Transitional Research journal.

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