Purpose: To assess psychological, individual and maternal factors related to dental anxiety among pre-adolescents in the different cultural settings of Turkey and Finland. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study of Finnish (n = 338) and Turkish (n = 611) pre-adolescents aged 10–12 years old by paired matching of questionnaires for the subjects and their mothers. These questionnaires, along with modified dental anxiety scales, were designed to collect data on the pre-adolescents and their mothers oral and dietary behaviours in relation to psychosocial factors. Multiple linear regression and factor analyses as well as descriptive and correlation statistics were applied. Results: The Turkish pre-adolescents (TP) reported poorer dental health (50%) and more frequent gingival bleeding (26%) than did the Finnish pre-adolescents (FP) (26%, 0%), (p < 0.05). A similar trend occurred for reported toothache (70% and 17% for TP and FP respectively [p = 0.00]). Mean dental anxiety (DA) for TP and their mothers, and Finnish counterparts respectively were 9.64 ± 6.01, 8.70 ± 4.53 and 7.39 ± 4.51, 6.02 ± 5.50 (p < 0.05). Among TP, those with low DA reported high levels of toothbrushing and dietary self-efficacy (DSES) and self-esteem (p < 0.05); FP showed similar trends for DSES and self-esteem. Principal component analysis revealed that maternal DA and regular dental visits largely accounted for primary associations with DA among TP. Conclusions: Appreciating the impact of various psychosocial factors may provide a better understanding of DA among preadolescents, and thus may reduce dental avoidance and behavioural management problems for the overall improvement of young patients oral health.
Keywords: culture, dental anxiety, maternal influence, pre-adolescents, psychosocial