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Does dental health impact mental health?

by Vaishali Sharma

Many things might have a negative influence on your oral health, ranging from bad eating habits to insufficient brushing and poor dental cleanliness. Your mental wellness has a huge impact on your oral health. People who suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns may be more prone to developing dental problems for a variety of reasons.

People who suffer from dental anxiety may avoid going to the dentist or having dental operations. According to experts, it might be the result of a larger mental health issue, such as general anxiety disorder, or a history of poor encounters at a dental clinic.

People who are depressed or nervous may make poor eating choices or fail to pay attention to nutrition, causing their oral health to deteriorate.

“Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression can lead to several problems which may lead to consumption of sugary foods or beverages that can cause tooth decay and cavities. Depressed people have poor nutrition, which can affect the surface enamel of the teeth,” says Dr Karishma Jaradi, Head Dental Surgeon- Dentzz Dental.

It is also common for a person with depression to lose interest in daily activities which includes brushing or taking shower.

“Depression can also make you feel tired or unmotivated to even brush or floss your teeth, and lead to smoking, drug abuse or alcoholism, all of which can cause gum disease and oral cancer,” says Dr Jaradi.

When it comes to a relationship between mental health and dental difficulties, stress is one of the risk factors, according to the British Society of Periodontology. People who are stressed are more prone to smoke, ignore their oral hygiene regimen, and miss dentist visits, all of which raises the risk of a variety of dental disorders.

The dental expert said, “Stress causes bruxism – teeth clenching or grinding leading to dental wear or facial pain. Cortisol, which is the body’s stress hormone, can increase the growth of Porphyromonas Gingivalis. People diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are prone to brushing their teeth repeatedly, which causes abrasion.”

“Even medication associated with the treatment of mental health can cause oral health issues. Antidepressants, along with antipsychotics, are among a number of drugs that are associated with dry mouth, also referred as xerostomia. In fact, salivary flow rates can fall by 58% in individuals who take tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline,” says Dr Jaradi.

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