The connection between oral and total body health is well-known. For example, poor oral health increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other serious illnesses. Likewise, your dentist can identify conditions like diabetes, oral cancer, osteoporosis, anemia, HIV, eating disorders and more during your dental visits. So, what about the relationship between oral health and mental health?
Studies have found that people with mental disorders are less likely to practice good oral hygiene habits such as consistent, daily brushing or seeing a dentist regularly. This can lead to dental disease and other health problems. The connection between oral health and mental health is a two-way street. Here are a few ways bad dental health can exacerbate mental health problems:
• Some dental problems affect speech, cause chronic bad breath, or encourage tooth loss, which can lead to anxiety in social settings. This can also lead to poor self-esteem and decreased desire to do enjoyable things.
• Pain associated with certain dental diseases can negatively affect the quality of life.
If you struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental conditions, let your dentist know so any associated dental problems can be identified and addressed so you can live well and smile more.