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Dental Health and Mental Health

Dr Martin Abelar - January 31, 2023 - 0 comments

The stigma surrounding mental health in America is still very prevalent in some communities. Unfortunately, this means persons suffering from poor mental health may be less likely to get the treatment they need to function properly. This can lead to worse mental health, and can cause many problems that can spill over into their daily life.

One such area where mental health can be especially damaging is oral health. Surprisingly, the two can be quite closely linked. For example, if you have poor oral health, it can worsen your mental health. If you have bad breath, stained, crooked, or chipped teeth, this can negatively impact your self esteem. If you suffer from gum disease or cavities, you can also experience pain that affects your mental health. But that’s just the beginning.

Studies have shown that persons suffering from depression often have trouble doing daily tasks related to hygiene, such as showering and brushing their teeth. This can make cavities and bad breath worse, and in turn impact self esteem. This vicious cycle can keep the patient stuck in a rut when it comes to their mental and oral health.

Another problem faced by those suffering from poor mental health is fear of visiting the dentist. This is known as odontophobia, and it’s a very real fear. That being said, many people are able to overcome this fear and still attend regular dental exams, however for some with severe odontophobia or depression, visiting the dentist regularly or at all can be terrifying, and thus not done at all.

Unfortunately, skipping the dentist doesn’t mean the problems go away. Cavities and infections can get worse, and problems like oral cancer can be overlooked and worsen without detection until it’s considered advanced, or worse.

If you are struggling with your own mental health, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Many people suffer from depression and anxiety or other mental health conditions, but it is important to get treatment for these conditions before they get worse. Not just for your oral health but for your overall health.

If you find yourself struggling, please reach out to a trusted counselor or friend, or visit for assistance. If you are ready to schedule your exam or cleaning, please reach out to Dr. Abelar and schedule a consultation. We can even discuss sedation dentistry to help keep you calm during your cleaning.

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