How Depression Can Lead to Tooth Decay

unmade depression bed - depression and dental care

How Depression Can Lead to Tooth Decay

We use our mouths every single day, for talking, eating, and smiling. But when you can’t smile, simple tasks like brushing your teeth can feel impossible. 

The fact is, depression is now being linked with dental problems like tooth loss and oral pain. Yes, depression does affect your dental health, and it can even make your teeth hurt. Here’s more about the connection between mental health and dental health.

How Depression Affects Your Dental Health 

If you have depression, you may have low energy levels. This can make daily tasks like getting out of bed, cooking meals, and following a healthy dental care routine difficult to do. 

Depression can lead to missed dental appointments, poor diet, and dehydration. It can make you neglect your brushing and flossing routine, leading to serious dental problems. 

When paired with anxiety, it can cause teeth grinding, and some medications that help treat depression can have dry mouth as a side effect. 

Depression can lead to the following oral health issues: 

1. Tooth Decay 

When plaque builds up, it releases acids that create tiny holes (caries) in your teeth.

2. Enamel Loss 

Can be caused by plaque and tartar buildup, tooth decay, gum disease, grinding your teeth, or even vomiting

3. Tooth Loss

Tooth decay, gum disease, and infections can all lead to tooth loss. Tooth loss can also affect the way your mouth forms words, causing a change in the sounds you produce.

4. Gum Disease 

The acids that plaque releases also irritate your gums, inflaming them and making them pull away from your teeth. Gum disease is a chronic infection that can cause tooth loss and even bone loss. 

5. Infections 

Sores in your mouth, cavities, gum disease, and open sockets can easily get infected from the germs in your mouth, and spread infections to other parts of your body. 

6. Bad Breath 

Infections, dry mouth, and plaque buildup can all cause halitosis (bad breath). 

7. Difficulty Eating 

Most of the problems above cause pain. For example, chewing is painful when you have decayed teeth, or you might avoid certain foods due to tooth sensitivity from gum disease. 

How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy When Life Feels Overwhelming

When even getting out of bed is hard, keeping a routine for brushing and flossing can feel like too much. Here are 3 tips to help you care for your teeth as best as you can. 

Try Disposable Toothbrushes

Keeping disposable toothbrushes, pre-loaded with toothpaste, by your bed can help for moments when you have some energy. They take away the little steps, so that you can concentrate on the most important thing: removing plaque. The goal is twice a day, but brushing whenever you remember is better than not brushing at all.

Use Mouthwash 

Keeping a mouth rinse in your bathroom in a place that’s visible from your toilet can be a gentle reminder to rinse out your mouth while you are there. Using a non-alcoholic type will help remove some germs and be gentler on your mouth. 

Drink Water

Drinking water helps keep you hydrated and keeps dry mouth away. It also rinses away food particles and bacteria. If getting to the kitchen is too much, try keeping some bottled water next to your bed.

Compassionate Dental Care in Prescott

Depression can last for months or even years, and can make your dental health suffer drastically. Visiting your dentist for a cleaning and exam could be an essential step toward healing. 

We use our mouths to connect with the world through laughing, smiling, and conversing. So when you lose confidence in your smile, it shows. 

You are worth the effort it takes to heal! The compassionate staff at Hicks Dental Group can help you regain the smile you deserve. Contact us today for an appointment.




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use. (6/18/23). Photo by Alicia Christin Gerald on Unsplash.