While you may not think about it, oral health and mental health are surprisingly interlinked. Negative oral health can have an impact on your mental health, just like poor mental heath has a negative effect on oral health. Let’s look closer at this interconnected relationship and consider some takeaways.
Poor Oral Health’s Impact on Mental Health
Anxiety over Treatment
Whether going in for just a check-up or dental treatment, nearly 75% of Americans are afraid of the dentist. For some, this goes beyond basic fear to extreme anxiety. For some, this even results in them discontinuing their visits to the dentist. This triggers a cycle of more dental issues, and more anxiety as they need more treatment. If you’re anxious, please reach out to us. We are experienced in handling dental anxiety and want to help you overcome your fear.
Link between Gum Disease and Mental Health Conditions
Though the cause-effect relationship is not well understood, gum disease is often correlated with mental health conditions. It is not clear whether poor oral health makes you more likely to experience mood disorders, or whether mood disorders lead to poor oral hygiene and therefore health. Some theorize that your body’s inflammatory response to chronic infection in your gums can cause your body to also attack healthy cells elsewhere.
Poor Mental Health’s Impact on Oral Health
Burning Mouth Syndrome
Some people with healthy gums still experience burning gums and pain. It presents differently in differnt patients, some experiencing all day, while others start the day without it but the symptoms grow over the course of the day. While this is not fully understood, BMS has a very high correlation with mental disorders such as depression, mania, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders.
Nutritional Deficiencies & Dental Neglect
Many who struggle with mental health lack the energy and will to care for themselves. This manifests in their diet and self-care, including oral care. Neglecting daily oral hygiene can lead to cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Many psychiatric patients struggle with nutritional deficiencies. This can be a result of poor dietary choices, low energy levels, and pain.
Abrasive Brushing & Dental Erosion
Those with aggressive or mania conditions can sometimes be overzealous with their brushing. Additionally, those that suffer from eating disorders frequently vomit. Harsh brushing or frequent vomiting can wear down enamel and increase the risk of sensitive teeth, dental caries, or gum recession and tooth loss.
All medications have a chance to negatively impacting your oral health. Psychiatric medications are no exception to this rule. One of the most common negative side effects that impacts oral health is dry mouth. If you experience dry mouth, consider asking your doctor to try an alternative medication. Dry mouth has really negative effects on oral health, especially long-term oral health.
It’s important to take care of yourself. Your oral health, as well as your mental health. If you’d like to discuss your oral health concerns, please reach out for an appointment with our office. We would love to be helpful!