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Posts tagged “mental health”

New study links mental health conditions with elevated risk of oral disease

A new study has linked mental health disorders with an elevated risk of oral diseases.
A research project, which has been published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, suggests that experiencing symptoms of illnesses, including depression, can increase the risk of gum disease.
Researchers evaluated and monitored both the mental and oral health of a group of more than 500 people from birth to the age of 30. The findings show that people who have symptoms of depression have a 20% higher risk of developing periodontal disease, an advanced form of gum disease. The study links depression with difficulty in fighting inflammation, the most common sign of severe gum disease.
Chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said that the findings of the study highlight the importance of mental health. Several studies have linked poor oral health and physical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, but less is known about the connection between the mind and the mouth. This research underlines the significance of a healthy mind and provides an insight into how other forms of health can impact oral health.
Dr Carter also added that the study provides an interesting and useful resource and point of reference for dental professionals. Depression is an increasingly common condition in the UK, and it’s crucial that health and dental workers are able to spot signs and symptoms to support and treat patients effectively. It is estimated that around 20% of people in the UK have symptoms of anxiety or depression, but the figure may be much higher, as many cases go undiagnosed.
Depression can be a barrier for seeking any kind of medical treatment, and Dr Carter suggests that dental patients may be anxious about seeing a dentist due to phobias, a fear of the unknown, or even shame or embarrassment linked to their oral health status.

New study suggests gum disease could increase dementia risk by up to 70%

shutterstock_344282432A new study suggests that gum disease increases the risk of dementia developing by up to 70 percent.

The findings of a study that involved 28,000 people show that those who take good care of their teeth and gums have a much lower risk of suffering from dementia than those with oral health issues, most notably advanced gum disease.

Researchers have already established a strong link between heart disease and gum disease. Now a Taiwanese study has suggested that periodontal disease could be a significant risk factor for dementia. Researchers analysed data from 9,300 patients who had been diagnosed with advanced gum disease and compared this to information from an additional 18,700 people who had not been diagnosed with gum disease. The team found that those who suffered from gum disease for more than 10 years had a much greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. After 10 years, it was found that 115 people from the group with gum disease had dementia compared to 208 who didn’t have gum disease, but rates were up to 70 percent higher in those who had long-term gum disease.

The research team, from Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, suggested that the findings of the study indicate that inflammatory factors related to gum disease can trigger “neurodegenerative changes”, which elevate Alzheimer’s risk. The team has now called for further research in this area.

Head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, James Pickett, said that to many, it wouldn’t seem obvious that gum disease could be linked to dementia, but research suggests that immune reactions associated with periodontal disease could affect the brain.

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