Eight Findings on the Growing Link Between Mental Health and Oral Health
A growing body of research, highlighted in this visual report, shows that our emotional state is connected to our oral health. For example, depression can be linked to poor oral hygiene, fewer dental visits, and other oral health problems.
Key findings from CareQuest Institute and the scientific literature include:
- Adults with depression report both brushing and flossing their teeth less often than those without depression.
- Adults with poor mental health (including depression) are more likely to have one or more unmet oral health need and are less likely to seek care for these needs than those with better mental health.
- Depression is linked to higher levels of dental caries (decay).
- Scores on measures of depression are higher in individuals with a temporomandibular disorder (TMD)—that is, chronic pain in the face and jaw—compared to those without a TMD.
You may also be interested in:
- Three Resources That Explore the Connection Between Oral Health and Mental Health, a blog post that summarizes facts and findings about the links between oral and mental health.
- Association Between Mental Health and Oral Health Status and Care Utilization, an article in Frontiers in Oral Health that presents findings from the first study to evaluate the relationship between oral health and mental health during the pandemic.
- Dental Fear is Real. Providers Can Help., a visual report that explores the impacts of dental fear and provides guidance and resources for dental providers to help them address dental fear in patients.