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Depression, anxiety often lead to dental neglect.

DENVER - Individuals with a diagnosis of depression or anxiety are significantly more likely to have gone more than a year since their last visit to a dentist, Catherine A. Okoro reported at the annual meeting.

Moreover, among both men and women in the general public, the extent of tooth loss was directly correlated with the prevalence of depression or lifetime diagnosed depression or anxiety, added Ms. Okoro, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.

She presented a study involving 96,269 men and 150,606 women who participated in the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System telephone surveys conducted in 2006 and 2008. The prevalence of current depression as assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 was 6.4% among men and 10.1% in women. Among men, 10.8% had a past or current diagnosis of depression, as did 20.3% of women. A lifetime diagnosis of anxiety was present in 8.2% of men and 14.6% of women.

Overall, 7.4% of American adults participating in the nationally representative survey had no teeth. Of those with teeth, 51.9% of respondents had all their teeth, 33.5% were missing 1-5 teeth, and 14.6% were missing 6-31 teeth.

After researchers adjusted for numerous potential confounding variables, men with missing teeth were significantly more likely to have current depression or lifetime diagnosed anxiety than were those with all their teeth. Paradoxically, men with complete tooth loss were significantly less likely than those with no lost teeth to have lifetime diagnosed depression. Women with tooth loss also were significantly more likely to have current depression.

Women who had not received oral health services in the past year were an adjusted 29% more likely to have current depression than those who had; the percentage for men, 12%, didn't achieve statistical significance, though.

The take-away message is the importance of encouraging patients with depression or anxiety to visit a dental health professional, Ms. Okoro stressed.

She declared having no relevant financial interests.


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Title Annotation:PSYCHIATRY
Author:Jancin, Bruce
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Date:Feb 1, 2011
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