Heritability of dental fear.

Research paper by J J Ray, U Wide UW Boman, L L Bodin, U U Berggren, P P Lichtenstein, A G AG Broberg

Indexed on: 16 Jan '10Published on: 16 Jan '10Published in: Journal of dental research


The objective was to test a hypothesized genetic component (i.e., monozygotic being more similar compared with dizygotic twins) in dental fear/anxiety by comparing the probandwise concordance. We analyzed data based on a dichotomous measure of Dental Fear/Anxiety and a continuous measure of Dental Fear Intensity from over 2000 twins, collected when participants were 13-14 years old and once again three years later. The hypothesis was confirmed, but heritability of Dental Fear/Anxiety was estimated to be higher for girls (0.77 at time 1 and 0.55 at time 2) than for boys (0.14 and 0.0 at times 1 and 2, respectively). Heritability of Dental Fear Intensity, however, was similar for girls (0.30 and 0.40 at times 1 and 2, respectively) and boys (0.47, 0.44). Studies of the etiology of dental fear/anxiety should take genetic vulnerability into account and include molecular biology measures. Possible heritability differences between girls and boys need attention.