Find-A-Code Focus Newsletter

Anxiety & Mental Disorders Contribute to Oral Health Problems

May 21, 2015

Anxiety& Mental disorders contribute to oral health problems
Christine Taxin, Adjunct Professor of New York University, College of Dentistry

Anxiety disorders, which include phobias, panic attacks, generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), are serious conditions with oral health implications that can be treated with a variety of methods. Oral health problems associated with anxiety disorders include canker sores, dry mouth, Lichen Planus (lacy white lines, red areas or mouth ulcers), burning mouth syndrome, and temporomandibular joint disorders.

Patients with anxiety disorders may either disregard their oral health altogether, or not list or tell the team they are on medication for anxiety, depression, or any associated mental health issues. They are at an increased risk for dental caries, periodontal disease, and bruxism (grinding). Anxiety could be caused by being anxious of a needle and complicate procedures. Some medications decrease the mouth's ability to produce saliva, which can increase the risk of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease. Other medication side effects include dry mouth, vomiting (which could cause tooth decay and erosion), anemia and bleeding.

Tell your dentist about your anxiety disorder and what medications you are on to alert him or her to these symptoms.


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