Young adults with feelings of depression are significantly more at risk of oral health diseases, a study has found.
The research shows those suffering from sadness, helplessness and other symptoms of depression, are almost 20% more likely to have severe gum disease.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, scientists monitored the oral and mental health of more than 500 people from birth until the age of 30.
The study makes a connection between depression and the body’s ability to fight off inflammation – a sign of gum disease. It also suggests that young people with symptoms of depression are more likely to neglect their oral health.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said gum disease and feelings of depression are two common conditions that most people might suffer from at some point in their lives.
“More effective education, individual treatment plans, better supportive therapy and aftercare, must be provided for those suffering with depression and other mental health disorders,” he added. “For these things to happen, we must first improve our ability to spot depression, which often goes undiagnosed.”
Around one in five (20%) people in the UK have symptoms of anxiety or depression.
According to the Oral Health Foundation, people with mental disorders are often faced with more challenges to maintain a healthy mouth.
Dental phobia, for example, is often linked to those with anxiety.
Depression can also lead to eating disorders which can affect the health of the teeth.