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The potential impact that your mental health can have on your oral health

new study published by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology has suggested that young adults who are suffering from sadness, helplessness and other symptoms of depression, are significantly more likely to also suffer at the hands of oral health diseases. Scientists monitoring the oral and mental health of more than 500 people, from birth until the age of 30, discovered that those who had regular feelings of depression were almost 20% more likely to also have severe gum disease.

How is depression and gum disease linked?

The study not only makes a connection between depressive episodes and the body’s ability to fight off inflammation; which is one of the early signs of gum disease, it also provides research to suggest that young adults suffering from symptoms of depression could be more likely to neglect their oral health.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “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. It gives us a platform to be able to increase the standard of oral health in the UK and beyond.

“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.”

What are the early signs of gum disease?

If you’re concerned that issues regarding anxiety, depression or any other mental health-related problems might be affecting your oral health, the first thing you need to do is visit your GP to discuss your options and what support is available. You should also keep a look-out for any early symptoms of gum disease, which can be easily treated. These can include:

  • Gums appearing puffy or swollen
  • Gums appearing a dark red colour
  • Gums bleeding easily, particularly when you are brushing or flossing
  • Gums feeling more tender than usual, and can be painful to touch
  • Bad breath
  • Gums appearing to recede

If you have noticed any of the above, it’s important that you also try to schedule a visit to your dentist for a check-up as soon as possible.

My dentist failed to diagnose gum disease

If you have already visited your dentist with concerns regarding gum disease and you believe that they have failed to spot any symptoms, or you believe that your dentist may have contributed to ongoing oral health issues through misdiagnosis, poor treatment or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At Dental Law Partnership, our team of expert Dental Negligence solicitors are on hand to help you at every step of the way; call us today on 0808 278 8202.