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Depression and Oral Care

The health of your teeth can reveal many things about your overall health. “It gives a clue about your stress level, your anxiety, your mood, and the presence of chronic eating problems.” 

Knowledge of the patient’s issues can help diagnose them with many conditions even if they are not being treated for a certain condition. This does not mean we don’t try to discover how to connect the dots.

The top issues are:

There is a close connection between the health of the body and that of the mind. There is further evidence to suggest those who experience mental illness also suffer from poor oral health.

Some of the most common mental illnesses that can have a negative impact on a person’s oral health include anxiety and panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-harm, schizophrenia, and psychosis.

Some of the main issues for those suffering from mental illness include:

  • Neglect: Research has shown that those suffering from mental illnesses tend to avoid dental care so much that their oral hygiene is neglected. This can result in gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Anxiety: Many people suffer from some form of dental phobia and as a result, stop seeing their dentist regularly. Infrequent dental visits have a severe impact on oral health.
  • Eating disorders: Those who suffer from conditions such as Bulimia often experience dental erosion from the acidity in vomit. Low levels of calcium are also common, which could affect the health of the teeth.
  • Brushing actions: Over-vigorous brushing actions by those with bipolar and similar disorders could result in them brushing away the enamel on the surface of the tooth.
  • Medication: they are taking may produce adverse oral effects, especially dry mouth, which is because of reduced saliva flow.
  • Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)—that is, chronic pain in the face and jaw—compared to those without a TMD. 

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