The specific aims of this investigation were to analyze the relationship between sense of coherence (SOC), dental anxiety (DA) and oral health status among middle-aged women, measured both subjectively and objectively and adjusted for socioeconomic status (SES).
Randomly selected women, 38 (n = 206) and 50 (n = 287) years of age, were included in a cross-sectional health examination. The participants underwent a series of examination stages, including a clinical and dental radiographic examination. The women responded to questionnaires concerning SES, oral health, DA and SOC.
The number of teeth was significantly related to SOC, where more missing teeth revealed a lower SOC level among 50-year-olds. The variables of caries, apical periodontitis and filled surfaces were not statistically significantly associated with SOC. However, the self-reported measure of oral health was associated with SOC in both age groups. High DA was significantly related to self-perceived poor oral health regardless of age. Individuals with high DA also had fewer teeth, more filled surfaces and more approximal caries. The multivariate models showed that higher SOC levels were associated with better oral health, as estimated by objective or subjective measures, while the inverse results were seen for DA. Thus, individuals reporting high DA were more likely to have fewer teeth and poor perceived oral health, taking SES into account.
Sense of coherence and dental anxiety are psychological aspects with respect to health- and risk-factors of oral health.