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Mental Illness and Oral Health

Physical health and mental health are closely connected, and studies have shown that there may be a connection between those who experience mental illness and poor oral hygiene.

There are several mental illnesses that can negatively impact an individual’s oral health. Dental phobia may manifest in someone with anxiety or panic attacks causing them to stop seeing a dentist regularly. Those battling depression or other mental illnesses may struggle to keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine which can result in gum disease or tooth decay. Eating disorders leave teeth weak or cause dental erosion in conditions such as Bulimia. Bipolarism, OCD, and similar conditions may lead to over-vigorous brushing which can result in brushing away the enamel of the surface of the tooth. In addition to the effects of the illnesses themselves, the medications to manage these disorders may have side effects such as dry mouth.

By ensuring that we are not only prioritizing our physical health, but also our dental health, we can help to reduce these risks. Ensuring that oral hygiene is a key part of a daily routine by brushing daily, limiting sugary foods and drinks, and keeping regular dental visits can effectively manage the oral health of someone suffering with mental illness.


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