The correlation between oral health and mental health is profound and significantly contributes to your overall wellness. But it’s less known that these two aspects can considerably influence each other. The connection between oral and mental health often goes unnoticed, yet everyone understands this association. The condition of your oral health can directly impact your mental wellbeing, and conversely, mental health problems can also detrimentally affect your oral health, depending on the circumstances.
Teeth that are stained, absent, or not straight can cause trouble eating or speaking. Ensuring oral hygiene through consistent dental visits and tooth alignment procedures can prevent such issues.
Issues with your gums and teeth can severely affect your self-confidence and perception of yourself. These struggles lead to decreased self-esteem and a tendency to withdraw from social activities. The American Dental Association’s studies reveal that dental problems cause 10% of children to avoid socialising and nearly 30% to refrain from smiling.
There is a notable interconnection between oral health and anxiety. Individuals with less than optimal oral hygiene often exhibit greater anxiety levels compared to those who maintain good dental health. This may be because stress and anxiety are associated with many similar problems that can arise from poor oral health. For instance, when cortisol levels surge, it can hurt your brain.
In this context, individuals with inadequate oral health may experience an increase in cortisol levels, potentially leading to anxiety. Oral discomfort, especially when it stems from dental issues like tooth decay or gum disease, can also induce anxiety because of the pain.
Depression-related complications can include habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and bruxism (the grinding of teeth). The use of tobacco and alcohol can modify the microbiome in your mouth, which results in less saliva production and an increase in bacterial activity.
These changes can enhance your susceptibility to serious tooth decay and gum disease. An association has also been observed between smoking and gum recession, which leaves the tooth root vulnerable to acid erosion. If not addressed promptly, infections and caries in the tooth root can develop into an abscess, potentially progressing to life-threatening sepsis. It’s also common for individuals battling depression to suffer from dental caries due to bacteria, which is often a consequence of inadequate oral hygiene stemming from self-neglect.
Inflammation of the mouth
Swelling in your gums and various parts of your teeth is a key symptom of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. If not managed, this condition can progressively deteriorate into periodontitis. It’s noteworthy to mention that slightly over 47% of adults who are 30 years or older suffer from some form of periodontal disease, and the risk heightens as you age.
It’s been observed by professionals for a while now that those experiencing depression or anxiety often neglect their dental hygiene. However, with recent research breakthroughs, we now understand that the state of one’s oral health can also influence their mental health. This highlights the importance of maintaining comprehensive health, which includes scheduling biannual Barrie dentist appointments for cleanings.
The notion has long been proposed that mental health conditions can interfere with your oral health by inducing dental anxiety or impeding good dental hygiene habits like brushing and flossing. While mental health conversations may be tough to initiate, even a basic understanding can greatly assist us in deciphering why we confront the difficulties that we do.
Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.