Aim: The aim of the present study was to determine the association of social inhibition, mood, and worry with participants self-rated oral health and oral health-related behaviours.
Study design: First-year medical students (n = 178) completed a survey that included questions on socio-demographic factors, behavioural variables, and self-reported oral health status. Students were also asked to complete the social inhibition subscale of the Type-D Scale (DS14), the Global Mood Scale, and the Worry Domains Questionnaire.
Results: Significant differences were found for social inhibition, worry and positive affect according to self-rated oral health, number of extracted teeth and satisfaction with appearance of own teeth (p < 0.05). The results showed that mean levels of negative affect in individuals with poor/very poor perceived dental and gingival condition were higher than, but not statistically different from, those of individuals with self-rated good/very good/excellent dental and gingival health (18.00 ± 11.79 vs. 11.71 ± 6.49 and 16.00 ± 10.23 vs. 11.77 ± 6.41). Students with higher social inhibition or worry and lower in positive affect scores were more likely to brush their teeth once or less per day, never to use dental floss, to have last visited their dentist more than two years previously and then mainly when treatment was needed or when pain occurred.
Conclusions: The results suggest that social inhibition, positive affect and worry are psychosocial risk markers that influence self-reported oral health status and behaviour and should be considered in the clinical dental setting.
Keywords: mood, oral health, positive affect, social inhibition, worry