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Ben Wilcox
Ben is the practice principal at Shore Dental, Sydney. He graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 2004 and…

Study Shows That Tooth Loss is Linked to Depression and Anxiety

May 8, 2014 by Ben Wilcox

Oral Health Tooth Loss

If you experience anxiety when faced with the prospect of visiting the dentist, you may have a greater chance of developing oral health issues in the future.

Depression and anxiety could lead to a decline in oral health


A recent study from West Virginia University has suggested that dental problems, such as tooth loss, can be associated with a variety of biosocial conditions including depression and anxiety. Presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research, the study found that tooth loss from caries (cavities) and periodontal disease is an outcome often linked with complex, chronic conditions.

Levels of dental health are often influenced by self-worth, self-esteem and care access.  Individuals that report feelings of anxiety towards going to the dentist are more likely to avoid dental check-ups; individuals suffering from depression may be negligent in self-care.

Investigators for the West Virginia University study analysed data from The Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey, then performed a statistical analysis on survey participants 19 years and older who had responded to questions related to depression, anxiety and tooth loss.

Of the eligible 76,292 participants, 13.4 per cent reported anxiety, 16.7 per cent reported depression, and 5.7 per cent reported tooth loss. The analysis determined that depression, anxiety and a combined category of depression or anxiety were significantly associated with tooth loss when compared with participants without the conditions.

If you are feeling the effects of anxiety and depression, you can contact Lifeline by visiting their website or by calling 13 11 14.