Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in the world. More than 280 million are affected globally, according to the World Health Organization.
When you or someone you love is struggling with depression, it can be easy to overlook oral health. Yet maintaining good oral care is an important factor in your overall mental health.
Motivating yourself to brush and floss can often be a challenge even when times are good. But when you’re dealing with depression, you’re even less likely to keep up with your oral care routine or to visit your dentist.
The connection between depression and oral health doesn’t end there. Recent research on mouth ulcers suggests a genetic link between depressive symptoms and the mouth. While the research is just at a starting point, it may provide some insight in understanding the deep link between your mood and oral health.
Additionally, a fact sheet produced by the University of Washington’s dental education program suggests a connection between depression and decreased salivary flow, a condition that can increase cavity-causing bacteria and the risk of gum disease.
Overall, here are few things you can do to help improve both your mood and your oral health:
Many anti-depressants can cause oral health side effects, including dry mouth, teeth grinding (bruxism) and trouble swallowing. So be sure to tell your dentist which medications you’re taking so he or she can help you manage these side effects. It’s also important to let your physician know if your dentist has prescribed anything for you as well.
Last updated September 7, 2021
The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.