Mental Illness and Poor Oral Hygiene—Is There A Link?

Mental Illness and Poor Oral Hygiene—Is There A Link?

Las Colinas Dentistry. Mental health awareness has received a lot of attention in recent year. Big names have come forward with their stories of dealing with mental health illnesses. Once thought of as a taboo subject, there are much more literature and acceptance on this topic now.

17.6% of the population is known to be affected with mental illness. It is also the second cause morbidity. According to WHO, “one in four families is likely to have at least one member with a behavioral or mental disorder.”

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There’s a close connection that exists between the mind and the body. Experts in psychology have been hinting toward the link between mental illness and poor oral health. Some of the most common mental illnesses can eventually result in health concerns.

Here are some common mental health illnesses and the effect they have on dental hygiene:


Depression is a constant struggle. It is characterized as loss of energy, constant feeling of sadness, suicidal tendencies and many issues that affect day-to-day life. This lack of concern for life in general can cause hygiene problems.

Those suffering from chronic depression are known to retreat to their bed for weeks on end. They let their hygiene slip to the point where their hair is matted down and oral health has been compromised.

Dental cavities are the most commonly found problem in patients of depression. This can eventually lead to tooth loss. f it is not handled efficiently. These dental hygiene problems can really knock back a person’s confidence, further worsening their mental health.

Gingivitis, oral lesions, and other complications can arise in patients with depression. Some can also be a side effect of anti-depressants.

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Anxiety is a condition where a patient suffers heightened alert. Panic or fear from certain triggering situations. Those suffering from this condition tend to have anxiety attacks when faced with large crowds, confined spaces or the need to socialize on their own.

Since anxiety closely related to stress, fear of going to  dentist can inhibit a patient from receiving the care they need.


Schizophrenia is an incapacitating disease that is chronic in nature. It manifests itself in a number of abnormalities like delusions, hallucination, negative symptoms, disruptive behavior, and much more.

61% of those suffering from schizophrenia are observed to have the worst dental hygiene. Dry mouth, teeth loss, and severe cavities are most commonly found problems.

They are considered to be at a higher risk of developing dental disease. Antipsychotic medication can cause tremors which can affect their ability to perform tasks like brushing of teeth. The families of such patients need to be thoroughly educated about the importance of oral care in their condition. Dentists too would have to treat such patients with utmost care.

Living with mental illnesses is a day to day struggle. Las Colinas Dentistry, at no point does one get cured of it. When looking for a dental clinic in irving tx for someone suffering from mental health issues, visit Rabile Family Dentistry. We provide all professional dental services for our patients.

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