14. Oral problems
Bad breath and decaying teeth? Incredible though it may seem studies have shown a correlation between depression and tooth loss. Some of this is due to a lack of self-care in depressed individuals. Some links have also been found between inappropriate diet and depression. In one study, there was shown to be a significant relationship between depression and oral health. Depression affects a person’s ability to cope with daily life and affects oral health-related self-care behavior. Also, depression and oral health might be related to salivary changes in depressed patients.
As gut health changes with depression so do the production of saliva. A decreased salivary flow can lead to several oral health problems, such as an increase in pathogenic bacteria and dental decay. Comfort eating tends towards a higher level of carbohydrates and sugars. These affect dental health negatively. Depression is also linked to increased high-risk behavior like smoking, alcohol and drug abuse. These can cause oral damage.
The bacteria and chemicals from the gut are also present in the mouth. If the gut is out of balance this can cause an imbalance in the bacteria present in the mouth. It is easy to see that the mouth is connected to the rest of the body, and vice versa. Depression is partly an “inflammatory” disorder, meaning that inflammations can induce it. Periodontitis causes such inflammation.
Depression increases the circulating level of cortisol. Increased cortisol raising the risk of periodontal disease. Some of the medicines for depression can increase the risk for caries, periodontal disease, and oral infections. Antidepressant medications can also cause hyposalivation, which may lead to decay or other dental problems.