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Fact Sheet
March 2019

A Deep Dive into the Connections Between Oral and Behavioral Health

By:
Debbie Plotnick

Oral health is an important aspect of overall health and influences physical and mental well-being, but receives less of its fair share of attention and resources. For people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders, good oral health is especially important. A bidirectional relationship between oral and mental health exists, where mental health issues can compound oral health problems, and vice-versa, making access to comprehensive oral health for people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders urgent. 

This fact sheet by Families USA and Mental Health America provides an overview of the interaction between oral and mental health and its consequences, illustrating the many challenges to good oral health faced by this population. It also provides examples of solutions to better address oral health for people with mental illness and substance use disorders to encourage policymakers, health care providers, and advocates to find innovative methods to ensuring this population is healthy all-around. 

Visit Families USA’s Oral Health for All campaign for resources and tools to advocate for oral health.