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Feeling more in control of your life can result in improved dental health, research finds

People who think luck determines what happens to them had lost three teeth on average

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Sugar is bad for teeth, but researchers have found resignation to one’s fate can also be dentally detrimental.

People who think luck or chance determines what happens to them had lost three teeth on average, and were at severe risk of gum disease.

In contrast, people who felt more in control of their future were missing just one tooth on average, and had generally healthier gums.

“The finding that this belief system is linked with oral health should encourage dental professionals to assess the emotional state of patients and, if necessary, refer them to psychological care,” said study author Dr Sebastien Jungo of the University of Paris.

The feeling that the future is out of one’s hands is referred to as having an “external locus of control”, while people who believe themselves to be masters of their fate, are said to have an “internal locus”.

The study enrolled 79 patients and collected data about lifestyle, income, education, marital status, stress levels and depression.

As well as having fewer teeth, the patients with an external locus of control were found to have greater attachment loss – the amount by which the gums stop hugging the tooth.  

Dr Jungo added: “Having an external locus of control was independently associated with more tooth loss and attachment loss, indicating greater severity of periodontitis.” (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)

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Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]


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