How Is Mental Health Connected to Oral Health?

One of the challenges dental clinics in Etobicoke face is managing and supporting patients’ mental health and dental health. We understand how our physical health can be affected by our oral health and vice versa, but what is the connection to our mental health?

Well, for one, if someone feels embarrassed about the condition of their teeth, they can withdraw from social activities and suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Below, we detail how mental health is connected to oral health.

4 Ways Mental Health Affects Oral Health

One particular study found that there can be “no mental health without oral health”. The paper suggests the relationship is a two-way street as mental health disorders can lead to dental issues and experiencing poor oral health can lead to mental health conditions.

Makes It Harder to Stick to Your Daily Routine

Proper oral health requires daily care for the teeth, including brushing and flossing. Mental health disorders can impact a person’s ability or capability to care for their teeth. This can be extended to sticking to a healthy diet and refraining from consuming sugary snacks and beverages. Those diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression often find oral care to be less of a priority. Mental health conditions distort the mind as to the importance of basic daily living activities including oral care. 

Anxiety Makes Visiting the Dentist Tough

Anxiety on its own can cause difficulty to face daily activities. If a past dental appointment was necessary for a severe dental issue, the thought of returning to the dentist can cause a person with anxiety to spiral into an anxiety attack. It can also be brought on by worrying about dental costs, gag reflex or extensive treatments that may cause pain.

Stress Degrades Your Overall Health

When a person is overly stressed from professional and personal life changes and pressures, the teeth can be affected by grinding and clenching. Dental services in Etobicoke often treat patients for chronic jaw tension, headaches and muscle tension. The subconscious friction can cause serious damage to the enamel and structure of the teeth.

Eating Disorders Can Lead to Tooth Decay

Most dentists understand the connection and sensitivity of eating disorders and oral health. Poor nutrition, body dysmorphia illness, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa can form a vicious cycle with consumption of acidic foods and beverages with detrimental effects on the teeth.

How Anti-Depression Medicines Can Degrade Your Oral Health

Extra care and precaution may be required when prescribed specific medications to help with mental health conditions. Proper oral care is imperative at this time as all medication treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, schizophrenia, neurodevelopmental disorders and eating disorders can affect a person’s oral health


Prescribed medications for depression such as Prozac and Effexor can cause Xerostomia to develop. Commonly referred to as dry mouth, this side effect can lead to tooth decay. Signs of dryness of the mouth include bad breath, dry lips, altered taste and/or burning sensation. There also may be difficulty chewing or swallowing.


A permanent result of using medication for anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or depression can be teeth grinding or bruxism. This can occur during sleep or when a person is fully awake. Most clenching, grinding or gnashing of the teeth is unconsciously done. The constant friction of teeth-on-teeth can damage the enamel of the teeth and lead to severe jaw and head pain.

Burning Sensation in the Mouth

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a rare, but serious, symptom of prescribed medications of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and sleeping pills. As the name suggests, a burning sensation is experienced on the tongue, inside cheeks and/or around the lips. It may be accompanied by tingling inside and outside of the mouth. It can appear with bruxism, dry mouth and oral infections of the tooth or gumline.

Book Your Appointment to Get Professional Dental Care Treatment in Etobicoke

For a better understanding about how your oral and mental health are connected talk to the team at Princeview Dental Group. We provide a warm and welcoming environment focusing on the needs and comfort of each patient. Along with a personalized dental plan we offer dental emergency services in Etobicoke. Contact us today! Please visit us at our new location under The Crooked Cue Pub and Restaurant at address, 3052 Bloor Street West, just west of Royal York Road on the north side.

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