Depression & Anxiety Linked With Tooth Loss

Depression & Anxiety Linked With Tooth Loss

Numerous studies have linked periodontal disease to other health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and lung infections. There have also been studies linking dental health with stress and mental health. For instance, people experiencing financial stress and exhibiting poor coping abilities are twice as likely to develop gum disease than others. A new study indicates a link between depression, anxiety, and tooth loss. The effects of poor dental hygiene on the health of your overall body seem pretty much substantiated. Therefore, if you’ve been neglecting your teeth resulting in tooth loss or tender, bleeding gums, contact a periodontist for a complete gingival evaluation.

New Research

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses that can devastate an individual’s life. New research suggests that these issues could also be linked with tooth loss, which is increasingly prevalent among adults in the United States.

The study published in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology found that people who had lost at least one tooth were significantly more likely to experience depression and/or anxiety compared to individuals who still had all their natural teeth. The researchers concluded that there may be a link between poor oral health and psychological distress. It is possible that this connection could be due to perceived changes in self-image or even a lack of confidence caused by having fewer teeth.

The authors noted that further research is needed to understand this relationship between oral health and mental well-being.

Recent Study

A recent study analyzed data collected by The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System–a complex telephone survey system used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments. The data was collected in 2010 from 451 075 people answering questions regarding depression, anxiety, and tooth loss. Of the respondents, 292 were chosen as participants. An analysis of their information showed that slightly over 16 percent of participants reported feeling depressed, somewhat over 13 percent reported feeling anxious, and almost 6 percent of people polled suffered total tooth loss.

Depression & Anxiety – Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease is a chronic, complex disease caused by the buildup of plaque on the crown and root of teeth. The bacterial plaque eats away at the tooth structure, irritates and infects the gum tissue, and can cause deterioration in the underlying jaw bone, leading to tooth loss.

Depression and anxiety can have a negative impact on oral health. Research has found a correlation between periodontal disease and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. According to recent studies, people with depression are twice as likely to suffer from periodontal disease than those without mental health issues. Likewise, research indicates that individuals suffering from anxiety are six times more likely to develop periodontal disease than individuals who don’t experience anxiety. Periodontal diseases are infections of the tissues surrounding the teeth, which can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

The connection between mental health and periodontal diseases is complex, but several possible explanations exist. Stress hormones released during anxious or depressive episodes can weaken the body’s immune system making it more vulnerable to bacterial infection in the mouth leading to gum disease or other forms of periodontitis

Research shows many factors relating to depression and anxiety that can cause periodontal disease and tooth loss.

  • People who suffer from dental anxiety may avoid the dentist due to fear, discomfort, and pain. This can lead to cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.
  • People suffering from depression lack the energy and motivation to sometimes get out of bed in the morning or get dressed. Under such conditions, oral health care is not usually prioritized, and lack of interest or neglect can lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss.
  • Decreased serotonin levels can cause cravings for sweets and carbohydrates. Sugars left on teeth are a feasting ground for pathogenic bacteria causing dental caries, gum disease, and tooth loss.
  • Depression may decrease immune function, making it difficult to fight off infection. Reduced immune function means reduced defense against the colonization of bacteria.


The connection between depression, anxiety, and tooth loss is strong. The full scope of the relationship between these conditions could be discovered with further research. This knowledge could lead to better treatments for both physical and mental health issues. Additionally, preventive dental care may help reduce the risk of developing depression or anxiety in those who are prone to these conditions. There is a need for an improved understanding of how our oral health can affect our overall well-being.

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