A cyclical relationship exists between oral health and mental health. Good oral health can enhance mental and overall health, while poor oral health can exacerbate mental issues–and mental conditions can likewise cause oral health issues.
At Penn Dental Family Practice, we strive to provide education, awareness, and treatment for health conditions everyday. But on this special occasion, we’d like to draw attention to an issue that many patients and members of the public are unaware even exists: the connection between oral health and mental health.
It’s an issue that–even within the medical and scientific community–is little understood in terms of details and consistent trends. What is certain, meanwhile, is that mental health has a direct connection to overall health.
This relationship between overall health and mental health is a cyclical one; patients with mental health issues are less likely to take proper care of their physical health. Neglected physical health impairs emotional and mental health, in turn, as the body becomes deprived of the nutrition, activity, and healthy habits that yield good mental health. Furthermore, poor physical health is harmful to self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth–all of which greatly impair mental wellness.
This is certainly the case with dental and mental health: the connection between them is direct, cyclical and–when oral health is neglected–detrimental. Good oral health and healthy dental habits, meanwhile, can enhance overall health, including mental health.
Though research on the connection between oral health and mental health is relatively new and limited, studies have suggested numerous effects that mental health issues have on oral wellness, including:
Interestingly, the connection also goes the other way. Your dental hygiene can also affect your mental health. For example:
While much about the connection between oral health and mental health requires further research, there is an established link between these two areas of health and wellness. The doctors at Penn Dental Family Practice seek to pay special attention to this connection and consider the mental health of our patients as we treat dental conditions–on World Health Day and everyday.