Are you aware of how your mental health is linked to your oral health? The mind and body are intrinsically linked and their effects on each other are wide-ranging.
Research has found that adults suffering from serious mental illnesses are more likely to have poor oral health.
It has been found that people with mental illness also suffer from oral issues like gross caries, periodontal disease, decayed teeth, dry mouth etc. And in addition, medications prescribed for mental health conditions may lead to dry mouth and severe decay which is a result of decreased salivary flow as well as other diseases like obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Studies suggest that people with serious mental health issues are three times more likely to need their teeth removed.
Some mental health conditions and their effects
Research shows that patients with schizophrenia and related mental health issues tend to have poor oral hygiene and are more likely to neglect their oral health.
Ailments like Bulimia can lead to enamel erosion while others like anorexia are linked to a reduction in calcium levels.
People suffering from Bipolar and related disorders tend to brush too vigorously and may damage their tooth enamel.
Patients suffering from depression or related disorders are more likely to have poor oral hygiene due to neglect.
Medications prescribed for such conditions can lead to problems like dry mouth or xerostomia and severe decay which is a result of decreased salivary flow.
People suffering from dental anxiety tend to defer visiting their dentist. Obviously this means the teeth are not checked regularly and any problems may not be detected.
The Bottom Line
Oral and mental health are closely related and neglecting either one may affect the other and cause problems. It is important to make small lifestyle changes in order to have good oral health while having mental health issues. With not much effort, one can maintain proper oral health and in turn, see an improvement in mental health.