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Objectives: Mental health among college students has become a recent concern due to the rising cases of depression. In addition to the stress factors a typical college student often faces, we now have the COVID-19 pandemic that further exacerbates this issue. One’s state of mind has a significant impact on not only their mindset but their body overall. If the body’s health is impacted by depression, then it will influence the immune system and bodily function, ultimately affecting the oral cavity as well. The purpose of this review of literature is to identify the relationship between clinically diagnosed depression and the effects it may have on the oral cavity of college students.

Methods: PubMed database and Google Scholars will be used to find research studies regarding the relationship between depression affecting an individual’s oral health. The articles reviewed are published after 2017.

Results: The results of the study supported the notion that individuals enrolled in a university or college who have mild depression are more likely to experience adverse side effects on their oral health such as temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD), gingivitis, periodontitis, and xerostomia.

Conclusions: Individuals with depression oftentimes lack a healthy oral periodontium due to the physiological and psychological effects. Data supports the relationship between depression and poor oral health. However, there is a lack of evidence that supports the direct association of depression with poor oral health due to socio-demographic variables. Future studies should include a population of similar socio-demographics to reduce confounding variables.

Publication Date



Depression, college students, periodontitis, mental health, oral health


Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene Student Scholarship

Date of Submission

April 2022

The Effects of Clinical Depression on the Oral Health of College Students