One of the most widespread mental illnesses in America is depression. An estimated 4.3% of the adult population has suffered at least one major depressive episode as of 2016.
Some research has suggested that there may be a link between depression and oral health.
It’s not surprising that someone who suffers from depression might lack the motivation or ability to engage in beneficial oral health care behaviors or other self-care habits. Depression is known to cause lethargy, apathy, memory problems, and more, all of which could lead to someone neglecting their oral health.
On top of the decrease in motivation that can lead to a lack of proper oral hygiene habits, depression may contribute to poor oral health via changes in the salivary glands of those who suffer from depression. A decrease in saliva can significantly raise the chances of someone developing serious oral health problems.
Less recent studies also appear to align with these conclusions. On a physiological level, the effects of depression can contribute to poor oral health due to cariogenic diet, xerostomia, and a weaker immune system that can allow for oral infections to arise.
Medications prescribed to treat depression can cause can also add to oral health problems. Antidepressant medications can cause hyposalivation, which can result in a wide range of dental problems. Some reports have also alerted to the possibility of antidepressant-induced bruxism.
Patients that have cardiovascular issues also have much higher odds of developing depression, meaning that monitoring their mental health is even more important. A 2016 study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology is one of the most recent pieces of research solidifying the link between depression and cardiovascular disease.
It’s not difficult to deduce that the mouth is connected to the rest of the body. The converse is also true – the body is connected to the mouth. Performing a thorough review of a patient’s medical records and oral exams can help us to deliver the best possible care to our patients.
For over a century, it has been suspected that a link between oral health and cardiovascular disease might exist. Recent research has found an increased risk for many cardiovascular conditions in patients with different oral health conditions like gum disease.
While most related studies have not yet been able to confirm a direct causal link, a strong association has been shown time and time again.
A study conducted in 2010 showed that a strong correlation between oral health, depression, oral health quality of life, and oral health behavior may exist.
Make sure that your overall health doesn’t suffer. If you’re suffering from depression or another condition, whether it be physical or phycological, the best thing you can do for yourself is to see a dental health professional. Schedule an appointment at McBride Dental today.