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Stress and Oral Health: How Stress Affects Oral Health

Stress and Oral Health: How Stress Affects Oral HealthPoor oral health causes more than pain, gum disease and other oral health issues. Evidence shows a link between poor oral health, depression and stress.

Poor oral health frequently results in sensitive or decayed teeth, gum disease and other issues. Evidence now demonstrates a link between having dental health issues and an increased risk of experiencing depression and stress.

Poor Oral Health And Depression

Evidence points to a link between poor oral health and experiencing depression. Researchers from the Deakin IMPACT Strategic Research Centre at Australia’s Deakin University analyzed data taken from a study of more than 10,000 people between the ages of 20 and 75. Researchers analyzed data from individuals participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the United States.

Dr. Adrienne O’Neil explains that researchers discovered a link between poor oral health and depression. The greater the number of dental health issues an individual experienced, the greater the severity of the person’s depression.

Nearly two-thirds of the study participants reporting that they suffered from depression also reported experiencing mouth pain at least one time during the previous year. More than 50 percent of participants considered their teeth either in fair or poor condition.

The Deakin University research is not the only evidence of a link between poor oral health and depression. Psych Central reports results of research from R. Constance Wiener, Ph.D., at West Virginia University. When analyzing results from The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey, researchers concluded that there is a link between experiencing tooth loss and experiencing depression.

While researchers made these discoveries, they could not specifically say why a link exists between poor oral health and depression.

Poor Dental Health And Stress

The Stamford Advocate reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers stress as a primary factor for having periodontal disease. In fact, Stamford Advocate contributor Scott Gargan explains that symptoms of poor dental health can potentially lead to grinding or clenching of the teeth, poor oral hygiene, and painful canker sores inside the mouth.

Although the small, white, irritated bumps known as canker sores appear inside the mouth of some individuals as a result of stress, dentists and researchers are still unsure of exactly why canker sores often appear in those individuals. Stress also potentially plays a role in the development of cold sores.

Depression And Stress On Oral Health

Stress and depression plays a definite role in experiencing poor oral health for some people. However, researchers cannot always determine how poor oral health, depression, and stress occur together.

Several factors related to having bad dental health include: people with symptoms of depression or stress neglect their oral health. This eventually leads to significant oral health issues. Additionally, poor oral health affects self esteem and self worth, which in turn possibly leads to stress.

Visit our dental team at Napa Dental regularly and put into practice good oral health habits to help prevent oral health issues!