Most people are aware of the complex relationship between body and mind and consequential inevitable mutual influence. However, when talking about mental health or mental issues, barely anyone thinks about its connection to dental health. Dozens of scientific researches have proven the link between oral health and mental illnesses and the influence goes both ways. There are less precise proves on oral illnesses effecting mental state, but the effect of mental ailments on dental health is indisputable. Almost 60% of psychiatric patients struggle with some dental illness or at least have a dangerously poor oral hygiene.
Relationship between common mental and dental issues
There are several explanations on how psychiatric illnesses directly or indirectly cause dental issues. Some mental ailments, due to their underlying mechanism and overall effect to the rest of the body, deprive teeth and mouth cavity of some essential chemicals and nutrients, leading to the development of various dental health issues. Another cause is neglecting dental hygiene by mental patients, which is also closely attached to the mere nature of these illnesses. Finally, most psychiatry patients use specific therapy and medications on a daily basis, and the side effects of these drugs may damage dental condition.
Most frequent problems
There’s a wide range of dental problems frequently found among people struggling with mental issues. Some of the most common include severe caries and decaying teeth, dry mouth and erosions within mouth cavity, periodontal diseases, poor breath, and infections. These people have higher chances of getting their teeth removed. Schizophrenia and depression usually lead to poor dental hygiene due to patients neglecting their daily dental care. Bipolar disorders cause obsessive and vigorous teeth brushing, which may cause erosions and enamel damage. Various eating disorders are linked either to lack of essential nutrients or development of caries. Many mental issues are closely connected to substance abuse, and each of these substances may directly affect the quality of teeth or other dental elements. Finally, most medications used in the treatment of mental issues cause dry mouth, obesity, higher sugar levels or various other issues that threaten damage teeth or decrease oral health.
Improving dental health in mental patients
The first step in dealing with this problem is certainly recognizing the problem as such and coming up with the solutions in many aspects. Promoting various techniques, better daily habits, and a healthier diet to mental patients to help them maintain their dental health is one of the ways. Another one is making dental treatments more accessible to these patients while educating about the matter both patients and dentists. As the part of these strategies, our dental clinic designed family dental care program, which includes a wide range of diagnostic procedures, treatments and techniques to improve dental health and we are promoting it as a form of preventive strategy. Official psychiatric diagnose is not necessary to take part in this program. Routine everyday stress is just enough of the risk for both mental and dental health.