Purpose: To measure the oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) among young individuals presenting with dental
anxiety and exaggerated gag reflex and to compare it to the OHRQoL among young individuals attending restorative
Materials and Methods: Patients with dental anxiety and/or exaggerated gag reflex who were referred to the Department of Oral Medicine were included. Clinical examinations included DMFT index (Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth) according to the WHO criteria and oral hygiene was assessed with the plaque index (PI). The survey included the validated Hebrew version of the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14).
Results: Overall, 322 patients completed the study. The dental anxiety group consisted of 68 patients, the exaggerated
gag reflex group of 54 patients and the control group of 200 patients. Control group patients presented with lower
PI and DMFT values. Patients with dental anxiety and/or exaggerated gag exhibited worse OHIP-14 scores overall as
well as on each separate subscale. PI and DMFT were found to be in strong relation to the OHIP-14. Multivariable logistic regression analysis of factors influencing the OHIP-14 scores revealed a significant influence of the DMFT score.
Conclusions: Patients with dental anxiety and exaggerated gag reflex were shown to suffer considerably from impaired
oral health-related quality of life. This impairment may be attributed to a higher prevalence of caries and avoidance of
dental treatment. Those populations should be identified and monitored carefully as well as encouraged to seek the
appropriate behavioural treatment in order to improve their dental heath and oral health related quality of life.