The Oral Health and Mental Health Connection

oral health

A healthy mouth leads to a healthy mind. Studies show those with mental illness of any sort tend to have little-to-no oral health habits. It’s no surprise oral health can be of low priority for those dealing with regaining mental and physical strength. Mental illness leads to fear, unhealthy habits, distrust in doctors (and dentists), and lack of steady income – all of which affect oral health, and the ability to keep a consistent oral health routine.


Psychiatric Disorders vs. Oral Health

Many people with mental illness unknowingly reveal their unhealthy mind through their oral health care. Severe enamel erosion that intensifies over a short period of time is a frequent side effect of eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia due to exposure to stomach acid or lack of nutrients. “Burning mouth syndrome” is defined by a constant burning sensation on the tongue and roof of mouth. This syndrome is continually linked to stress and severe anxiety disorders.


Drug Use Impact on Oral Health

Addiction impairs at least 10% of Americans, not to mention the millions that go undiagnosed. Illicit drug use manifests in the mouth and increases the risk of many oral diseases.

  • Meth users are nine times more likely to experience tooth decay.
  • Heroin users are five times more likely to experience tooth decay.
  • Cocaine users are four times more likely to experience tooth decay.
  • Tobacco smokers and chewers are four times more likely to develop oral cancer.

Knowing these facts may help identify mental illness and addiction in the loved ones around you. Users of any sort are usually very hesitant to share their personal downfalls to those they love.


Dealing with mental illness is difficult, yet unfortunately very common for many Americans. Having proper oral health care and treatment can change the mood of an inflicted person almost instantly and improve overall health. Rotting teeth can lead to infection that spreads through the bloodstream to the rest of the body.


The dentists at Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas emphasize to their patients the importance of oral health for overall mental wellness no matter the situation. If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness and is in need of a dental cleaning in Houston, call Greenspoint Dental today. We take pride in putting our patients at ease and providing the proper care needed to increase our patients’ overall health. Remember, a healthy mouth leads to a healthy mind and soul.