​New research reveals that being afraid of the dentist can impact on your overall quality of life.

The study, published in the International Dental Journal, revealed that dental anxiety can heavily impact you psychologically and socially, leading to feelings such as shame, poor self-confidence and social isolation1.

Key elements of social wellbeing, such as income and education, were also negatively affected by dental anxiety.

Those questioned were almost twice as likely to be on a lower income if they feared dental visits. Results also showed they were twice as likely to suffer from poor oral health.

More than 10 million adults in the United Kingdom have some level of dental anxiety, with an estimated six million suffering from dental phobia.

Following the publication of this remarkable research, leading oral health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, is drawing attention the importance of overcoming dental anxiety and the effect that it can have far beyond the mouth.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation: 'About one in five Brits admit to being afraid or anxious about visiting a dentist in Britain.

'This is an incredibly widespread anxiety and is one of the key reasons why people don’t visit the dentist as often as they should. This can put you at risk of significant oral health problems and, as this research shows, other important areas of your life.

'Avoiding a visit to the dentist due to fear puts you at greater risk of missing oral health problems, such as early signs of tooth decay or gum disease, until it gets too late to treat effectively, and you have no choice but to have extensive treatment.

'It can also have knock on effects on self-confidence and other elements of psychological wellbeing, which can impact you socially in your relationships or even career.

'It can also lead to potentially significant health issues as untreated gum disease has been linked to systemic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

'Modern dentistry is very different to the scare stories which you may base your dental anxiety on and, with modern techniques, all dental treatment is now virtually painless. There really is no need to fear a visit to the dentist.'