Gingivitis Linked to Increased Risk of Future Depression

The month of May is mental health awareness month. This awareness helps educate individuals and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. When it comes to our mental health, it can play a huge impact on dental health. European researchers have discovered that there is a link between gingivitis and depression. Patients with chronic gingivitis had double the risk of developing depression as to those who have healthy gums.

This research study will be featured in the June 2021 edition of Journal of Psychiatric Research and led by Lisa Lotta Cirkel. The group conducted research on patients ages 14 and older, who were diagnosed with chronic gingivitis in the U.K. The study focused on patients who received a diagnosis of gingivitis through the years of January 2000 - December 2016. According to the research, they had found that approximately 16% of people with chronic gingivitis received a diagnosis of depression 10 years later; which was compared to the 9% of those without gingivitis. Cirkel quotes "It has been shown that mental health can have a negative impact on oral health and that biological components and behavioral mechanisms that are connected with depression can have an adverse effect on periodontal health."

At the end of their research, the group found that 16.3% of those with chronic gingivitis and 8.8% without gingivitis received a diagnosis of depression within 10 years. The end result was that there is a positive and significant relationship between these two conditions. Patients with gingivitis are 1.82 times more likely to develop depression. The relationship between these two conditions were seen to be strong around the ages of 21 and 50.

"The connection between these two diseases warrants increasing attention from [general practitioners], and it is important to understand that both can influence each other." quoted by Cirkel and the group. An immunoinflammatory response can be the ultimate trigger between gingivitis and depression. Inflammation is linked to neuroinflammation and impaired serotonin synthesis.

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