Link Between Tooth Loss and Depression
Tooth loss can have some serious consequences. Not only does losing a tooth leave you with a gap in your smile, but your other teeth may shift, drift, and tilt into the gap. You may be more likely to suffer from decay and gum disease, and a new study has even linked tooth loss with depression.
The study, which was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research, found that losing teeth as a result of dental decay or periodontal disease is strongly associated with depression and anxiety. Researchers evaluated data from The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and a CDC survey with a total of 450,000 respondents. Of that number, about 300 were included in the study. Depression and anxiety were the most common issues associated with tooth loss, and about 30 percent of the participants had one of the conditions.
Untreated anxiety and depression can lead to reduced self-esteem and an increased risk of delaying dental care. Treatment can help control symptoms but is not without risk. Some anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs can lead to dry mouth. Dry mouth is a major risk factor for tooth decay because the inadequate saliva flow is unable to properly remineralize teeth. You can take steps to reduce the risks. Drink tap water, which contains fluoride, and chew sugar-free gum, which can stimulate saliva flow and combat oral bacteria. Visit our dentist regularly for checkups. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your next appointment.