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MENTAL-DENTAL: WHAT’S THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ORAL HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH?

A cyclical relationship exists between oral health and mental health. Good oral health can enhance mental and overall health, while poor oral health can exacerbate mental issues–and mental conditions can likewise cause oral health issues.
At Emerald Dental Practice, we strive to provide education, awareness, and treatment for health conditions everyday.

POOR MENTAL HEALTH → POOR DENTAL HEALTH

Though research on the connection between oral health and mental health is relatively new and limited, studies have suggested numerous effects that mental health issues have on oral wellness, including:

Depression is associated with higher abuse of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, which may cause tooth erosion and decay.

Depression often causes self-neglect, which often results in poor oral hygiene and consequential tooth decay.

Bipolar affective disorder often causes over-brushing that may damage gums and cause dental abrasion, mucosal lacerations, or gingival lacerations.

Bipolar patients treated with lithium have a higher rate of xerostomia and stomatitis.

Acids from vomiting makes patients with eating disorders more susceptible to tooth decay.

Side effects of antipsychotic, antidepressant, and mood stabilizer drugs may include a higher susceptibility to oral bacterial infections.

POOR DENTAL HEALTH → POOR MENTAL HEALTH

Interestingly, the connection also goes the other way. Your dental hygiene can also affect your mental health. For example:

Poor dental health affects speech, which can cause significant social anxiety. Likewise, bad breath can exacerbate social anxiety.

Patients of mental illness are 2.8 times more likely to have lost all their teeth; this affects physical appearance, self-esteem, and self-image.

Similarly, patients of mental illness have higher statistical rates of tooth decay and missing teeth, which likewise affect physical appearance and self-image.

While much about the connection between oral health and mental health requires further research, there is an established link between these two areas of health and wellness. The doctors at Emerald Dental Practice seek to pay special attention to this connection and consider the mental health of our patients as we treat dental conditions
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