Every part of your body is intensely in-tune with each other. Although it doesn’t seem like it, the health of your teeth and gums can have an impact on your mental well-being, and vice versa. Most people are completely unaware of this connection and how it works. Next time you visit your dentist in Worcester, understand that you’re not just preventing oral health problems from developing, but you’re also participating in self-care that will enhance your mental state. Read on to learn the connection between your mood and mouth, and how you can take care of your well-being.
Connecting Your Oral and Mental Health
The connection between your oral and mental health isn’t understood in detail by the medical and scientific communities as well as the general public because it is relatively new. These two parts of our bodies are directly linked to each other.
People that have mental health issues are less likely to properly care for their physical health by being mindful of their diet and physical activity. When this happens, it can result in an even worse mental state by wearing on their self-image, confidence, and self-worth. That means that great oral health habits can promote a healthy state-of-mind.
Problems that Poor Dental Health Can Cause Your Mental Health
The research on how our oral and mental health is connected is incredibly limited, but the few studies that have been conducted have found these links on how poor mental health can lead to oral issues:
- Depression can result in higher consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, which are known to increase the risk of oral health problems.
- Depression can result in self-neglect, which means limited oral hygiene.
- Bipolar disorder can cause excessive brushing that can cause gum recession and worn-down teeth.
- Eating disorders cause acids from excessive vomiting to erode tooth enamel.
Likewise, poor dental health can reinforce poor mental well-being in these ways:
- Dental health problems can result in speech problems and bad breath, leading to social anxiety.
- Tooth loss heavily impacts self-confidence and self-image, which can lead to depression.
Protecting Your Overall Well-being
Looking after your overall health begins with taking care of your mouth. You can take preventive steps to reduce your chances of developing oral health and mental health problems by:
- Visiting your dentist every six months for a professional checkup and cleaning.
- Keeping up with your oral hygiene routine at home.
- Quitting bad habits for your oral and physical health like using tobacco products.
- Develop a healthy nutritious diet.
- Participate in regular physical activity.
If you have any questions about how you can develop the best oral hygiene routine at home, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist. They can guide you on how to you can keep mental health issues from wreaking havoc on your teeth and gums.
About the Author
Dr. Enkin enjoys all aspects of general dentistry, especially being able to provide his patients with high-quality preventive care. He offers a comprehensive menu of services including everything from routine checkups and cleanings to porcelain veneers. He focuses on giving his patients the knowledge and treatments they need to enjoy their natural teeth for decades to come. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit West Brookfield Dental’s website or call 508-867-2777.