Individuals experiencing mental illnesses like anxiety and depression may display actions or face challenges related to their condition that impact their oral health.
Going to the dentist twice yearly is essential to keep your teeth healthy. But did you know it’s also a chance to boost your mental well-being?
“People are often surprised that their dental health is connected with their oral health, and their oral health, in turn, is connected with their mental health,” says psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD. “But they’re really interconnected.”
Your Oral health and mental health are closely linked with each other. People with mental health issues might develop habits like smoking that harm their teeth. If you think, “My teeth are affecting my mental health,” it’s crucial to address both aspects for holistic well-being.
Individuals experiencing mental illnesses like anxiety and depression may display actions or face challenges related to their condition and the effect of poor oral hygiene, such as:
Loss of appetite
You might not have enough calcium if you don’t eat well or have eating problems. And when you lack calcium, it can weaken the protective layer on your teeth, called enamel. Eating disorders like bulimia, where someone vomits after eating, can cause damage to the throat, teeth, and mouth.
Eating or drinking too many sugary foods or beverages
You might not feel hungry when you’re anxious, sad, or dealing with a mental illness. But instead of eating regular food, you might go for lots of sweet treats that feel good but can lead to tooth issues later on.
Dental anxiety affects many individuals, extending beyond those with mental health concerns. You might avoid regular dental visits for those grappling with anxiety disorders, which can cause dental issues.
If you’re dealing with depression or other mental illnesses, you might experience fatigue and lack motivation. This can make everyday tasks, like maintaining oral hygiene by cleaning and flossing your teeth, challenging. Feeling too tired to prepare meals may also contribute to poor nutrition.
Difficulty performing daily tasks
When dealing with mental health issues like depression, you might feel tired and less motivated to do everyday tasks like brushing your teeth. It’s essential to tackle depression and dental health to make caring for your teeth easier.
If you have depression and anxiety, you’re more inclined to consume alcohol. Excessive alcohol intake over time can result in gum disease and potentially contribute to the development of oral cancer.
Certain mental health medications, including antidepressants, may lead to side effects like dry mouth. This dryness can elevate the risk of developing gum disease over time.
The condition of your oral health can worsen your mental well-being.
Take note of these measures to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
- Perform tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice daily.
- Employ dental floss or an interdental brush for daily inter-tooth cleaning.
- End the smoking habit.
- Cut down on or eliminate alcohol intake.
- Reduce consumption of sugary foods and drinks.
- Keep up with routine dental check-ups
- Consume a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
Dry mouth due to medication? Experiment with xylitol mints. This natural sweetener helps your mouth make more spit and stops plaque and cavities.
Consider these xylitol products for assistance:
- Chewing gum
- Mouth spray
Eat a well-balanced diet
Make a conscious choice to include nutritious foods in your diet, particularly those rich in vitamins from fruits and vegetables.
Stay mindful of any signs or symptoms that could manifest in your well-being.
Pay attention to the signals your dental health sends. Whether it’s bleeding gums, jaw discomfort, or heightened sensitivity to hot or cold, these symptoms can indicate underlying issues with oral hygiene.
Perform stress reducing tasks
If you see your teeth’ enamel wearing down, it could mean you’re feeling stressed. In that case, try doing things that help you relax and reduce stress. Use a sleep app for better rest, and practice deep breathing and meditation throughout the day to stay calm and focused.
See your dentist
Dentists do more than make your teeth shine; they’re also adept at noticing signs of what’s happening in your life.
The link between oral health and mental health is undeniable. Regular dental check-ups are essential, and if you’re grappling with mental health concerns, it’s crucial to discuss them with your healthcare provider promptly. Understanding how gum disease can affect you emotionally is vital to maintaining comprehensive well-being.