Can Depression Affect Your Oral Health?

Man with major depression and oral health issuesResearch shows at least 16.2 million adults in the U.S. have one or more major depressive episodes within any given year. The bouts of sadness and hopelessness can have a serious impact on your quality of life, but they can also affect your dental health. Here’s the connection between major depression and oral health, so you can have a beautiful smile when you’re feeling your best again.

Depression and Oral Health Connection

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health issues across the globe. If you’ve ever found yourself unable to shake the blues, you know how hard it can be to find motivation for even the simplest of tasks, like brushing or flossing. If you don’t keep up your oral hygiene routine, you’re increasing your risk of preventable dental issues, like tooth decay, cavities, and bad breath.

Unfortunately, the connection doesn’t stop there. According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications, a link was found between mouth ulcers and people who are genetically predisposed to depressive symptoms. Another study by the University of Washington found another correlation between the two. Certain medications used to treat depression can cause dry mouth. The decreased saliva flow can increase the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth, making you more prone to gum disease.

Managing Your Oral Health

Although the health of your smile is likely the last thing on your mind, it’s important to take a minute each day to focus on your teeth and gums. Here are a few oral hygiene tips to keep your smile healthy during the challenging time:

  • Brush and Floss: Despite your lack of motivation, self-care is crucial to feeling better. Create a daily routine that includes brushing twice a day and flossing nightly.
  • Talk to Your Dentist: Don’t forget to visit your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. Be sure you tell them what’s going on, so they can take additional measures to safeguard your smile.
  • Snack Smart: Try to stay away from sugars and starches when snacking because they can cause a spike in your blood sugar, which can worsen depression symptoms. You’ll also expose your teeth to cavity-causing bacteria. Instead, choose fresh fruits and vegetables to improve your mood and oral health.
  • Get Help: Don’t hesitate to speak with your physician about your mental health challenges. They can provide the resources you need to revitalize your enjoyment of life.

Keep Your Smile Healthy

Commit to your dental health each day to keep your mouth healthy. Taking a few minutes to focus on self-care can help you get back to feeling yourself again while promoting a radiant smile.

About Dr. Amin Tabatabaian

Dr. Tabatabaian earned his dental degree at the Ohio State College of Dentistry before becoming the Chief Resident for GPR at Forum Health Hospital. He has regularly continued his training to provide genuine, compassionate care for each patient. If it’s time for your next cleaning and checkup, contact our office today for an appointment.

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