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A Cross-Sectional Examination of Salivary Cortisol, Dental Anxiety, and Dental Caries in Children

Roland Giger

Dental caries remains a prevalent and chronic health issue affecting children worldwide. While established risk factors include diet, oral hygiene, and genetics, emerging research suggests a link between psychological factors, such as dental anxiety, and physiological markers, like salivary cortisol, in the development and progression of dental caries. This cross-sectional study sought to explore the associations among salivary cortisol levels, dental anxiety, and dental caries in pediatric patients. A diverse cohort of children was examined, and data was collected through clinical assessments and salivary cortisol measurements. The findings reveal a significant relationship between elevated salivary cortisol levels and increased dental anxiety in children, as well as a connection between dental anxiety and the presence and severity of dental caries. Furthermore, elevated cortisol levels were associated with a higher prevalence of dental caries. These results emphasize the importance of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to pediatric dental care, addressing not only the physiological but also the psychological aspects of oral health. Early intervention, stress reduction strategies, and increased awareness are essential for promoting better oral health outcomes and overall well-being in children. Further research and innovative approaches are encouraged to enhance our understanding of the complex interplay between psychological and physiological factors in pediatric dental health.