BACKGROUND: The purpose was to analyse the associations between dental and trait anxiety, fear of COVID-19 and the duration and frequency of spontaneous hand-to-face contact (self-contact).
METHODS: A cross-sectional design was carried out with 128 adult patients from four dental clinics in Madrid, during the confinement, from March 15 to May 15 . The patients' movements in the waiting room were monitored with Microsoft Kinect Software, also completed the Trait anxiety subscale of the STAI, the COVID-19 Fear and the S-DAI questionnaire .
RESULTS: Associations were observed between the duration and frequency of facial, mask and eye contact with trait anxiety and dental fear was determined only by the frequency of this self-contact . Trait anxiety is associated with dental anxiety and with fear of COVID-19 . Although facial self-contact is higher in women, it also rises in men as dental fear increases . Moreover, dental anxiety is a good predictor of trait anxiety and the incidence of facial self-contact .
CONCLUSIONS: Understanding the possible associations between biopsychosocial factors, such as trait anxiety, dental anxiety and self-contact is important . It may help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the population as well as enabling the formulation of effective interventions to improve oral health care through the implementation of dental care programmes.