A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology has suggested that young adults with depression have a significantly higher risk of oral health diseases.
Scientists monitored the oral and mental health of more than 500 people from birth until the age of 30, and found that those suffering from symptoms of depression are almost 20% more likely to also have severe gum disease.
The study makes a connection between depression and the body’s ability to fight off inflammation, also suggesting that young people with symptoms of depression are more likely to neglect their oral health. Current statistics show that around one in five (20%) people in the United Kingdom have symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, weighed in regarding the study, saying that “Gum disease and feelings of depression are two common conditions that most of us might suffer from at some point in our lives. Following this study, we now know these problems are linked and often occur together.”
“Understanding that mental disorders can influence the health of our mouth is extremely important,” he continued. “More effective education, individual treatment plans, better supportive therapy and aftercare, must be provided for those suffering with depression and other mental health disorders. For these things to happen, we must first improve our ability to spot depression, which often goes undiagnosed.”
“Everybody deserves the right of good oral health. Sadly, for those with depression, there are many reasons why this may negatively impact their oral health,” Dr Carter added.