Apparently, there is a connection between depression and other mental illnesses and poor oral health. However, researchers of a new study out of West Virginia University just aren’t sure what exactly it is.
Dr. Constance Wiener led the study, which examined records from a larger survey of more than 450,000 respondents by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments. The WVU study focused on 76,292 participants who were eligible based on their age – over 19 years old – and those who experienced tooth loss and those with complete records regarding their mental health.
Results showed 13.4 percent reported anxiety 16.7 percent, depression; and 5.7 percent had lost all their teeth.
The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research.
Dr. Weiner told the group that the study shows more tooth loss among those who are depressed or anxious than those who aren’t. But, she said, it is not certain if those mental health conditions result from losing one’s teeth or if the depression leads to health loss.
Weiner reportedly said it is possible that people who are depressed or anxious pay less attention to their oral health and lose their teeth due to caries or periodontal disease. She said more research is needed to prove anything conclusively.
Weiner told the group the research does indicate a need to educate people about this possible side effect of mental illness, and to encourage them to seek dental care from a professional.
Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental
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