Poor oral health can affect your well-being and lead to many serious illnesses. But it also has a strong connection to mental health. Continue reading.
Oral health is an integral part of overall well-being, and neglecting it can have serious adverse effects on other organs in your body. According to the World Health Organization, “Oral disease encompasses a range of diseases and conditions that include dental caries, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, oral trauma, noma and birth defects such as cleft lip and palate Oral diseases are among the most common non-communicable diseases in the world, affecting an estimated 3.5 billion people. is important to raise awareness and emphasize the importance of good oral health.
It is well known that poor oral health can cause cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and also cancer. But did you know it can also cause mental health issues? We reached out to Lieutenant General Dr. Vimal Arora, Clinical Director, Clove Dental Care, to better understand the subject. Here’s what he has to say.
How does not taking care of your oral health lead to fatal diseases?
Neglecting oral health can lead to the buildup of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental problems. However, these oral health issues can also have broader health implications beyond the mouth. Not taking care of your oral health can lead to the following consequences:
- Heart disease: Some studies have shown that bacteria from the mouth can travel in the blood and contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart blockage, eventually leading to a heart attack.
- Respiratory infections: Inadequate oral hygiene can negatively affect the respiratory system. The presence of bacteria in the mouth due to inflamed gums and decayed teeth can enter the lungs through inhalation or through the bloodstream. Therefore, these bacteria can cause respiratory infections, pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are more prone to gum disease, and untreated gum disease can make it harder to control blood sugar.
- Oral cancer: Poor oral hygiene can increase the risk of oral cancer, especially in smokers and heavy drinkers.
A person’s mental health is correlated with oral health. How true is this statement?
Studies have shown that people with mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress may be more likely to have poor oral health, such as gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss . This can be due to several factors, including medication side effects, poor oral hygiene, poor eating habits, and neglect of dental care due to lack of motivation or resources.
Conversely, poor oral health can also have adverse effects on mental health. For example, dental pain, tooth loss, and embarrassment about the appearance of one’s teeth can lead to anxiety, depression, and social isolation.
It is important to note that correlation does not necessarily imply causation, and other factors may contribute to the relationship between mental health and oral health. Additionally, it is important to address mental and oral health issues separately and holistically, as they are both essential components of overall health and well-being.
How often should a person visit a dentist to monitor their oral health?
It is generally recommended that a person visit the dentist for a check-up and scaling every six months. However, the frequency of dental visits can vary depending on an individual’s oral health needs and oral disease risk factors.
For example, people with a history of gum disease or other oral health issues may need to see their dentist more frequently, such as every three to four months. On the other hand, people with good oral health and a low risk of developing dental problems may only need to see their dentist once a year.
It is essential to discuss with your dentist the frequency of dental visits that suits your specific needs and oral health goals. Your dentist can provide personalized recommendations based on age, general health and lifestyle.
Does oral health improve with mental health?
A growing body of research suggests that there is a close relationship between oral health and mental health. Studies have shown that people with poor mental health are more likely to have poor oral health and vice versa.
For example, people with depression, anxiety, and stress are more likely to have periodontal disease, dental cavities, and other oral health issues. This can be due to several factors, such as poor oral hygiene, poor lifestyle habits, medications, neglect of dental care due to lack of motivation, or other mental health reasons.
Conversely, improved mental health can lead to better oral health outcomes. For example, stress management and relaxation techniques have reduced the risk of periodontal disease and improved oral health. Additionally, seeking professional help for mental health issues can help individuals overcome barriers to dental care and maintain better oral hygiene habits.
Therefore, it is essential to recognize the link between mental health and oral health and take steps to ensure both overall health and well-being.
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