As an adult with missing teeth, even a casual social interaction can set off a chain reaction of anxiety and self-consciousness--everyone knows this.
What not everyone realizes, however, is that the impact of badly damaged or lost teeth can also impact quality of life in more profound ways.
According to one team of Australian researchers, poor oral health significantly increases the risk of depression.
Dr. Spada, whose Sudbury dentist office provides comprehensive dental exams and professional teeth cleaning, discusses the team’s findings and what it means for you.
The Eye-Opening Results
The team conducted the study using health data provided by 10,000 respondents, all American adults between the ages of 20 and 75 years.
Each respondent’s dental health was evaluated and categorized based upon how many dental conditions he or she had. A doctor involved in the study noted that there is indeed a strong connection between depression and the health of one’s teeth and gums.
Interestingly, she adds, the relationship is such that the severity of depression increases directly with the number and severity of the dental conditions. In other words, someone who has gum disease and tooth decay will most likely experience stronger feelings of depression when compared to someone who only has an occasional cavity.
Universal Implications for Oral Health
Further research is needed to determine exactly how the two conditions are related. Previous studies suggest that poor oral health could possibly be an unintended consequence of depression, whereas the results of this study appear to show that dental health could be a precursor to depressive episodes.
Either way, it’s clear that oral health has a major impact on your quality of life and sense of well-being. This influence is apparent even with children’s oral health. Several studies have shown that children who have poor oral health miss more days of school and generally perform more poorly in academic settings than those who have healthy teeth and gums.
The Importance of Prevention
These studies highlight the importance of preventive dentistry and its role in your overall health. You can see, then, why the American Dental Association advises scheduling a dental checkup and teeth cleaning at least once every six months.
During your exam, Dr. Spada will use a variety of tools and methods to provide a complete picture of your oral health. Dental x-rays provide a detailed image of your teeth, jaw, and support structures.
Dr. Spada will also examine your teeth and gums carefully to screen for signs of oral cancer or periodontal disease.
A healthy mouth supports a healthy mindset. To learn more about preventive and restorative dental treatment, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Spada, contact our Sudbury, MA dentist office at (978) 443-3111.