A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology is showing that people who suffer from sadness, helplessness, and other symptoms of depression are almost 20% more likely to also have severe gum disease. The researchers tracked the oral and mental health of a group of more than 500 people, from birth all the way through age 30.
This might be surprising since, on the surface, these conditions don’t seem to be related at all. However, if you’ve been depressed at any point in your life, you probably know how difficult it is some days to get up and do the things you need to do — which includes caring for your oral health. However, the study proves the link goes much deeper than that.
The Inflammation Connection
The main connection the study found between oral health issues and depression has to do with inflammation. When a person is depressed, their body has a harder time fighting off inflammation, which can lead to many things but for the purposes of this study, it can lead to gum disease.
Inflammation is how the body responds to cellular injuries. Without this response, our bodies could not survive! However, when it continues for an extended period of time, unwanted issues can start to pop up throughout the body.
What’s most alarming to dentists is how much the inflammatory process impacts oral health. It gets pretty scientific and dense, but let’s just say that inflammation creates a response in the body that leads to gingivitis, a common mild form of gum disease. Gum tissue starts to change from pink to red and can swell up and bleed. It’s not super painful, but it is a cause for concern and your dentist should address it sooner rather than later. Gum disease can lead to other, more serious issues down the road such as heart disease and diabetes (among other conditions, many still being researched)
We’re Here To Help
If you have some oral health concerns but are unsure about how to get the ball rolling on addressing these issues, just give us a call at (773) 883-1818. Our helpful and friendly team can set you up with an appointment, or if you prefer to do it yourself, you can always do so right on our website.
We never want our patients to feel overwhelmed, and of course, our main priority is to make you feel totally comfortable (and even pamper you a little) when you’re hanging out with us at the loft. We offer lots of convenient options like needle-free sedation dentistry and same-day procedures to make the entire experience a pleasant one!
If you do feel depressed and need someone to talk to, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always there for you. They offer free and confidential 24/7 support for people who need it. Just call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone now.