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Can Depression Affect Your Dental Health?

March 29, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drgoodman @ 12:20 am

Depressed woman looking out a windowAccording to recent polls, cases of depression are at an all-time high. Researchers have found that nearly 29% of adults suffer from depression, but only 17% are being treated. Symptoms of depression can affect your daily life, but it can also influence your oral health. With clinical depression common post-COVID pandemic, it’s important to seek professional help to manage your symptoms. However, don’t forget about your smile. Here’s how depression can leave a lasting mark on your oral health.

Depression and Poor Dental Health

Motivating yourself to do anything when battling depression can be difficult, which means it’s easy to let your oral hygiene habits slide. If you’re not keeping up with brushing and flossing, plaque, tartar, and bacteria are accumulating in your mouth. You have an increased risk of bad breath, gum disease, and cavities. 

Early research has also found a connection between depressive symptoms and mouth ulcers. A study published by Nature Communications found that there may also be a genetic component that causes oral sores in the mouths of those with depression.

A study by the University of Washington found a link between decreased saliva production and depression. A dry mouth is a great environment for harmful oral bacteria growth that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Salivary issues are a common side effect of certain antidepressants.

Not to mention, it’s common for patients with depression to skip routine dental appointments. Cleanings and checkups stop oral health issues from occurring, so you’re less likely to experience tooth loss or dental work later. In addition, it also allows your dentist to monitor your oral health to detect anything concerning while it is still small. 

How to Manage Your Oral Health

While you work to manage your depression symptoms, commit to your dental health. Brush your teeth at least twice daily for 2 minutes and floss every night. Eat plenty of nutritious foods and take a brisk walk every day to boost your mood and wellness. Schedule a cleaning and checkup with your dentist every 6 months. Tell your dentist about what’s going on, like not brushing your teeth. They’ll create a personalized plan to help you through any rough patches. 

Speak with your healthcare provider about getting help for your depression. Better days are possible with the right treatment.

About Dr. Alex R. Goodman

Dr. Goodman earned his dental degree at the University of Alabama at the Birmingham School of Dentistry. He has regularly continued his training to provide the latest solutions in dentistry. He gets to know his patients on a personal level to help them achieve their best smiles. Request an appointment through his website or call his office at (931) 388-4315.

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