Oral and psychological health issues are intimately related. Psychological well-being can affect oral health and oral health can affect one’s psychological well-being. Add to the mix is odontophobia, a psychological condition depicting an irrational and overwhelming fear of dentistry.
The perception of loss of control and helplessness are issues that create fear. These perceptions stem from our limbic or primitive emotion system and require reasonable and logical executive level cognition to overcome. Unfortunately, some cannot summon such resolve.
Chronic stress can manifest orally through over salivation or dry mouth. Disrupting the pH balance in saliva can cause acidic saliva, which causes tooth decay. Dry mouth from stress affects bacterial growth, and many of the medications prescribed to reduce stress may cause dry mouth.
Many psychological issues result in fewer, if any, visits to the dentist. For depressives, a visit to the dentist is not high on their list of concerns. This can cause tooth decay or loss, causing additional depression. Additionally, having an unsightly smile can reduce self-esteem, restricting a healthy level of sociality, reinforcing or causing depression.
Recent studies by a team of neuro-scientists suggest there are dental markers that could indicate Alzheimer’s and MMI or mild memory impairment, a pre-clinical stage of dementia. These studies are nascent but show promising information leading researchers to believe there is a possibility that inflammation from periodontal disease may find its way to the brain, affecting the hippocampus in particular.
For a stress-free dental experience Contact Glasscock Dental
8430 Univ. Exec. Park Drive Suite 610 Charlotte, NC 28262
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