Studies show associations between mental health problems and tooth loss, periodontal disease, and tooth decay.
Do you know about the connections between oral health and mental health?
People who visit the dentist regularly and maintain good oral health are more likely to have good mental health compared to those who suffer from depression and anxiety. The oral health may deteriorate in people with depression or anxiety due to lack of motivation, fatigue, and feelings of worthlessness.
“Poor mental and overall health can lead to greater risks for dental decay and tooth loss, leading to the more frequent pain experience, social isolation, low self-esteem, and reducing one's quality of life,” explains Christie Lesser, LCSWR who chairs Neighborhood Health Center’s behavioral health department.
There is much evidence that socioeconomic status is closely related to poor oral health and poor mental health. Data from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that factors such as age, education, race and ethnicity, and family income were significantly associated with the oral health status of Americans.
One of the factors in poor oral health may be dental anxiety. According to an article published by the National Library of Medicine in 2014, dental anxiety or fear affects approximately 36% of the population, with a further 12% suffering from extreme dental fear.
If you are fearful or anxious about visiting the dentist, here are some things to try:
You can learn more about dental and behavioral health services at Neighborhood by clicking here: https://nhcwny.org/services/
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