Last Updated on June 1, 2023 by Dr Gustavo Assatourians DDS
Can dental health cause mental problems?
For the WHO the word “health” involves the complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being, not only the absence of disease.
If we do not have adequate oral health, we can be affected in a physical way, since the absence of teeth or dental pain will limit us in eating properly. We are also affected mentally and psychologically because the pain can lead to stress and anxiety, and consequently lead to a state of depression; in the same way the absence of some teeth in the anterior sector or not having them in a proper position can lead to problems of low self-esteem.
“Poor oral health can have profound repercussions on general health and quality of life,” Dr. Petersen told the WHO.
Oral health and self-esteem
Dental aesthetics within oral hygiene is also crucial for mental health since, according to several studies, missing teeth or inadequate coloration or pigmentation of teeth affects people’s self-esteem at different stages of life.
Self-esteem in children
The report, conducted by Pepsodent, showed that the quality of oral care in young children can have an impact beyond common problems such as bad breath and dental pain, but can also limit their potential and have a negative impact on their self-esteem and school performance.
Teeth are the first thing you see when you smile, and if brushing is not done correctly, tooth decay can likely develop and affect the teeth in both shape and color. This can generate a sense of embarrassment when showing teeth and affect children’s social behaviors.
If this persists throughout their growth, there is the possibility of generating low self-esteem, which may lead to something more severe during their psychosocial development.
Self-esteem in adults
In adults, self-esteem can also be affected, as dental problems can considerably affect social esteem, be a barrier to accessing job opportunities, and the adult’s emotional quality of life.
Oral health and anxiety
Poor oral health in adults could be related to the appearance of mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, because it produces inflammation in some areas of the nervous system, said the specialist in neuropsychiatry, Edilberto Peña de León.
The first circumstance that can occur when you have an anxiety disorder is the neglect of your physical appearance. This also includes the neglect of daily oral hygiene, as well as the reluctance to visit the dentist.
In this way, the risks of developing all kinds of oral conditions are greatly increased—particularly caries and gum disease.
Oral health and depression
Pain and depression have a close, two-way relationship. Depression can cause pain – and pain can cause depression.
A toothache and the problems it causes can wear you down and affect your mood. Chronic pain in the case of trigeminal neuralgia can cause a variety of problems that can lead to depression, such as sleep problems and stress
Oral health and mental health in older adults
A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society notes that people who do not brush their teeth daily are 22% to 65% more likely to develop diseases associated with senile dementia.
Can gingivitis lead to Alzheimer’s Disease?
The Scientist recently published a study linking these two disorders. The bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis found in the mouth is the leading cause of gum disease and gingivitis.
The study examined the brains of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. It found that this bacterium had escaped from the mouth and entered the brain. From there, it released an enzyme known as “gingipain,” which destroys nerve cells in the brain and causes the kind of memory loss that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
This is why proper oral health is so important, as it can prevent many diseases.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other, please feel free to contact or visit us at Channel Islands Family Dental.
At Channel Islands Family Dental, we will be attentive to your visit to make a timely diagnosis. In addition, our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, or Port Hueneme will be able to guide you to the best treatment to bring back your best smile.