Depression linked to poor oral health

on 26th April 2019

Young adults with feelings of depression are significantly more at risk of oral health diseases, according to the findings of a new study.

The research shows those suffering from sadness, helplessness and other symptoms of depression are almost 20% more likely to also have severe gum disease.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, scientists monitored the oral and mental health of more than 500 people from birth until the age of 30.

The study makes a connection between depression and the body’s ability to fight off inflammation – a sign of gum disease. It also suggests that young people with symptoms of depression are more likely to neglect their oral health.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, believes the study highlights how good oral health can be as much about the mind as it is about the mouth.

Dr Carter said: ‘Gum disease and feelings of depression are two common conditions that most of us might suffer from at some point in our lives. Following this study, we now know these problems are linked and often occur together.

‘Understanding that mental disorders can influence the health of our mouth is extremely important. It gives us a platform to be able to increase the standard of oral health in the UK and beyond.

‘More effective education, individual treatment plans, better supportive therapy and aftercare, must be provided for those suffering with depression and other mental health disorders.

‘For these things to happen, we must first improve our ability to spot depression, which often goes undiagnosed.’

Around one in five (20%) people in the United Kingdom have symptoms of anxiety or depression. According to the Oral Health Foundation, those with mental disorders are often faced with more challenges to maintain a healthy mouth.

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