Could Poor Oral Health Cause Depression?

We know how powerful the emotional impact of tooth loss is to a lot of people. Some compared it to losing an arm or leg, others admitted avoiding leaving their homes in embarrassment.

Another UK research revealed that 70% (9.7 million) of people surveyed with bad teeth say that bad teeth negatively affected their lives.
But what exactly is the connection between poor oral health and depression?
Here’s some information from a study made by a team of researchers from the Deakin IMPACT Strategic Research Centre in Australia.
Using data from a comprehensive health survey of more than 10,000 people aged 20—75 years living in the United States, the Deakin IMPACT Strategic Research Centre researchers found that poor dental health (as measured by the number of dental conditions a person had) increased the likelihood of being depressed. “Not only did we find a connection between dental health and depression, we also demonstrated that a dose-response exists between the two conditions, meaning that the more dental conditions one had the greater the severity of their depression,” said Deakin’s Dr. Adrienne O’Neil.
The team found that 61% of the participants reported having an aching mouth in the past year and over 50% of them considered their teeth to be in a fair or poor condition.
“The relationship between dental health and depression is not well understood, with previous studies investigating poor dental health as a by-product of depression, rather than a precursor,” Dr. O’Neil said.
Although their study “provides only a snapshot” of the association between the two, Dr. O’Neil added that if poor oral health indeed is a risk factor for depression, then their findings may have implications for depression management, as well as depression prevention.
The results of this research are published in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.

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