It’s rarely talked about, but there is a relationship between oral health and mental health.
People experiencing mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and even prolonged stress suffer oral health problems at higher rates than the rest of the population. These oral health problems can include erosion, tooth decay, periodontitis, and loss of teeth. This is partly because people suffering from mental health issues sometimes find it harder to keep up with their daily dental habits. In addition, some anti-depressants can cause xerostomia (dry mouth), which can lead to oral health problems. If health care professionals don’t educate patients about these side effects, then patients aren’t aware that they can take steps to reduce the health issues associated with xerostomia. Another cause for the relationship between mental and oral health problems is that people suffering from mental health challenges and stress may use tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs to self-medicate or cope, all of which can lead to oral health problems.
On the flip side, dental problems can cause mental health issues such as anxiety about going to the dentist, as well as social isolation or increased risk for depression due to distress about tooth or gum problems.
Especially now, when stress may be higher and many of us may be out of our normal routines for getting up and getting ready to leave the house, we need to be sure that we keep up with our oral health habits. In addition to what is mentioned above, oral health issues are related to many other physical health problems. So, remember your teeth and gums…then be sure to do some positive self-talk for keeping the routine during a difficult time! It’s also a great teachable moment for children about the importance of maintaining habits even when life circumstances may shift for a time.
Wanna Deep Dive into into more about the relationship between mental and oral health, as well as read the CDC guidelines for good oral heath? Check out these links below: