Oral Health & Mental Health

 In Patient Education

Did you know about the connection between oral health and your mental health?

A lot of us might think that our dental health does not affect our mental health. However, there is a connection between the two – one can impact the other. Mental health and dental health are cyclical. Poor mental health can often lead to the neglect of oral hygiene, and poor oral hygiene can lead to poor mental health.

Depression and anxiety are often connected to oral health but degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s have also been linked to gum disease. Bacteria that cause gum disease are associated with the development of Alzheimer’s and other related dementias, especially vascular dementia.

Neglect

People who are going through a difficult period in their life may be more likely to smoke, increase alcohol consumption, neglect their normal oral hygiene routine, and turn to more unhealthy food options. All of this can result in more serious diseases such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Anxiety

Some mental illnesses like depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder can also increase the risk of dental phobia. People who suffer from dental phobia stop seeing their dentists regularly which can severely impact their oral health. Grinding and clenching are also signs of anxiety that can lead to dental wear, facial pain, and TMJ disorder.

Eating Disorders

Those who suffer from eating disorders like bulimia nervosa often experience acid erosion from frequent vomiting. The enamel can be damaged by regular contact with stomach acid caused by gastric reflux or self-induced vomiting. Poor nutrition can also lead to low levels of calcium and influence tooth health.

Prevention and Care

  • Brush your teeth to lower your risk of gum disease
  • Focus on your mental health and try to limit stress and anxiety
  • Schedule regular dental hygiene visits
  • Reduce sugary food consumption
  • Maintain good oral hygiene

Oral health is important to your overall wellness. Contact your local Altima Dental clinic to see how our team can help you take care of your oral health.

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