The Connection Between Mental Health & Dental Health

mental health

There has been an unending argument on whether there is a link between mental health and dental health in recent times. One of the factors fueling this sensational discussion is based on the proven fact that failure in dental health can lead to more damaging effects in an individual’s life. For instance, it has been proven that the mouth has many bacteria which are not harmful. However, further research has shown that these bacteria can become harmful if they get into the bloodstream. In addition to that, various research has shown a connection between oral health and heart-related diseases. 

So, if there is a strong connection between dental health and other types of diseases, does that imply a relationship between mental health and dental health? Can tooth infection affect mental health? According to Dr. Braich at the Altima Mississauga Dental Centre, there is a strong connection between the two. He posited further to state that positive oral health can enhance individual mental health both in the long and short run.

How does dental health affect mental health? 

Based on various research outcomes, here is how mental health affects dental health and vice versa:

The relationship between mental and dental health is similar to two-way communication. When mental health is not adequately treated or attended to, it can lead to additional dental health problems. At the same time, if dental health is not treated timely, it can also lead to mental disorders. 

Here are some proven facts on how mental health can cause dental health issues:

In most cases, depression is usually attributed to substance abuse. Some of the substances include cocaine, alcohol, and tobacco. When these aforementioned substances are used abnormally, they may cause tooth decay and erosion.

Various research outcomes have shown that individuals suffering from depression usually find it difficult to maintain oral hygiene. The resultant effect of neglecting oral hygiene can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health problems.

Research has shown that acids from vomiting make those suffering from eating disorders more susceptible to tooth decay than those not suffering from the ailment.

Individuals suffering from bipolar affective disorder often experience over-brushing. When brushing is done beyond the stipulated arrangement, it may cause gingival lacerations, mucosal lacerations, and dental abrasion. 

Research has also shown that some of the adverse side effects of antipsychotic, antidepressant, and mood stabilizer drugs may cause oral bacterial infections.

When dental health is not treated timely, it can affect speech proficiency. Those suffering from speech deficiency are most likely to experience social anxiety. At the same time, individuals suffering from bad breath usually find it difficult to express themselves in public, thus leading to social anxiety.

Fear of the dentist

How can mental health affect dental health? 

Patients experiencing mental health problems are most likely to lose their teeth, which usually cause a change in their physical appearance. 

A patient suffering from mental health often experiences poor nutrition. For instance, individuals suffering from anxiety or depression usually lack the appetite to eat. And when this happens, it leads to weight loss because drinking beverages and other sugary treats become the norm. Although the individual may experience some relief after taking the sugary drinks, however, in the long run, it affects the teeth, especially leading to cavities and tooth decay.

Loss of calcium is another problem people suffering from depression often experience. The reason is that loss of appetite means calcium intake into the body system will drop significantly. The teeth will be denied the needed calcium to grow or maintain healthy teeth when this happens. In addition, loss of calcium ultimately weakens the surface of the teeth’ enamel. 

Research has shown depression and anxiety can increase pain sensitivity. In the long run, anxiety can also cause dental phobia.

Some mental ailment treatments, especially antidepressant drugs, can cause mouth dryness. At the same time, the side effects of mouth dryness can exacerbate your teeth exposure to gum diseases. 

Those suffering from depression often experience low energy. The effect of low energy leads to low morale to perform some specific tasks such as eating foods that are reached in nutrition. Low energy can also impede an individual interest in keeping up with oral hygiene.

Final thought 

Mental health should not be handled with levity because it can lead to further health damage, such as dental health problems. So, to prevent mental health problems, it is advisable to maintain a routine that can boost mental health. However, if the situation is beyond what you can handle yourself, seeing your doctor for medical advice will go a long way. 

In addition, you must understand that there is a synergy between mental health and dental health. Both can affect each other. So, don’t ignore dental health in favor of mental health. If you are experiencing dental health, see your doctor immediately for a proper medical checkup and treatment.