Why Stress and Depression Affects Dental Health; and How to Prevent it

Mental health can have detrimental effects on your life and body. If a person suffers from stress, anxiety or depression, they might start gaining weight, losing hair or suffering from prolonged episodes of fatigue and weakness. But did you know that poor mental health can also lead to oral health problems? People who take too much stress due to certain personal reasons or suffer from anxiety build their own coping mechanisms such as smoking, drinking, late-night snacking, and binge-eating that might lead to dental problems.

Because of laziness and fatigue, the person might not feel like making meals, and that in turn leads to poor nutrition. This causes enamel erosion as one might start eating too many sugary treats and junk, the consequence of which is tooth decay and cavities.

It is also observed that people suffering from depression have Burning Mouth Syndrome in spite of good oral hygiene. This might be due to poor nutrition as mentioned above.

Dental anxiety is something very common today in people with mental health issues. Anxiety disorders may stop you from visiting a dentist and hence lead to oral problems. Depression and anxiety also cause one to be more sensitive to pain, which leads to sensitivity. Antidepressant drugs given to mental health patients have innumerable side effects like dry mouth. Dry mouth increases the risk of gum disease.

Alcohol consumption, smoking and drugs are the unhealthiest ways of coping with depression and anxiety. Alcohol causes gum disease, smoking and drugs cause accumulation of tar and it may easily become one of the causes of oral cancer.

Preventive Measures for good oral health

Mental Health problems lead to oral diseases and that might reduce one’s confidence, further worsening their mental health. To prevent yourself from being stuck in this vicious cycle, here are some tips to make sure your oral hygiene is taken care of:

  • Avoid eating junk and sugary foods that cause cavities and enamel erosion.
  • Stay away from smoking, drinking and drugs that are causes of gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day and use mouthwash to thoroughly rinse your mouth.
  • Use of dental floss is good to make sure there is no plaque accumulation between your teeth.
  • Eat a balanced and nutritional diet.
  • Visit a dentist regularly.

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