Mental health and oral health

Share This Article

December 3rd, 2019

As days grow shorter and the weather becomes colder, many people begin to experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Sometimes called the winter blues, those affected by SAD often feel sad, moody or low energy beginning in the fall with symptoms subsiding in spring or early summer. At times, SAD can progress into depression even after winter ends. If you already experience depression, symptoms can sometimes worsen depending on the season.

You may not know that your mental health can affect your oral health, and vice-versa. In fact, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that:

  • Two-thirds of people with depression said they had a toothache in the last year.

  • Half of those with depression reported that their teeth were in fair or poor condition.

  • Related studies saw a link between gum disease and conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety.

A common side affect of SAD, depression or anxiety is stress. Stress can have adverse effects on your overall health such as inhibitiing your immune system’s ability to fight off antigens (harmful substances like toxins, bacteria, viruses, etc.) This can increase the risk of gum disease or gum inflammation. SAD or depression can also cause those affected to neglect their teeth by brushing infrequently or avoiding dental visits.

Here are some things you can do if you think you are experiencing symptoms of SAD, anxiety or depression:

  • Make an appointment to see a physician. They will be able to help determine the cause of your symptoms and give you the best recommendation to lessen the effects.

  • Find a dental professional who you feel comfortable with. This will help you to open up about your oral health and provide them with important information they may need to provide you with proper care. Feeling safe with a dental professional can also help encourage you to make regular visits and avoid putting off needed treatment.

  • Try your best to keep up with your regular oral health routine. Brushing for two minutes twice per day and flossing are absolutely essential when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy.

This information in this post is for general educational purposes only and does not warrant or represent any information as related to health as specifically appropriate for you. It is not intended to be medical advice or replace the relationship that you have with your health care providers. You should always seek medical advice on any diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. The information is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.