Can Poor Dental Health Increase The Chance of Depression?

Black and white picture of a woman looking down and depressed

In an age of unlimited research, there are so many new topics of discussion. One topic brought up a lot more in recent years is how our physical health affects our mental health. There have been some very interesting articles of research recently that have about dental health.  There is a lot of ongoing research into how the condition of our mouths can affect other parts of our bodies—both negatively and positively. The topic of this article is how our oral health can potentially cause depression.

Depression Affects Many Of Us

In the past few years, you may have noticed that many people are opening up about depression. Working in the medical field, we see how many medications are prescribed to our patients. Patients are taking a myriad of anti-depressant medications. It does make some of our Boston Dentists wonder if there might be any correlation between mental health and oral health.

Some Scientists Asked the Question

Researchers in Geelong, Australia looked into the correlation between oral health and depression. They gathered very interesting data from more than 10,000 patients. They found that patients with more dental conditions had greater or more severe depression.

For the study, researchers utilized data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It showed that 61 percent of the participants who reported depression also reported the presence of oral pain over the past year. Additionally, more than half of the participants reported that they considered their own oral health to be in fair or even poor condition.

While there has not yet been extensive study into the context of poor dental health and its correlation to mental health, this study does provide a “snapshot” that will open the door for further investigation. The correlation could simply be that people who are depressed tend to neglect their oral health instead of poor oral health causing depression.

Perhaps, down the road, we will see some significant innovative therapies and even preventative interventions come from this research. In the meantime, please don’t neglect your mouth. 

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Your Boston Dentist can evaluate, identify, and treat gum disease. Schedule an appointment with Dental Partners of Boston today so we can help you improve your oral health!