Sparkly Teeth, Settled Minds: The Link Between Oral Hygiene and Mental Health

Contributed by: Jane Sandwood

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

Good health was previously thought to be related to staying physically fit through exercise but we now know that mental health plays a significant factor in your quality of life. A medical study of individuals with dental issues has reported a significant negative impact on their self-esteem. This, in turn, was detrimental to their mental health. A link between oral hygiene and mental health seems to exist, but to what extent?

Neglect Due to Depression
People who struggle with depression often feel a loss of energy and lack of will to do tasks that would normally be part of everyday life. Depression Disorder affects more than 16.1 million individuals across the US according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. This makes them more likely to neglect their oral health and adds more stress toward their thoughts and feelings. Individuals must take active participation in the upkeep of their oral health. If you do not struggle with depression, a good rule of thumb is to watch out for signs of dental health issues. If you do struggle with depression, it is important to get help. Enlist the aid of loved ones, friends, and even mental health professionals so that they may get you started on a healthier path.

Avoidance Because of Anxiety
If you’ve ever felt extra nervous about going to the dentist, you are not alone. Around 30 to 40 million individuals avoid going to see a dentist because they have dental anxiety. Those with this sort of anxiety tend to exhibit agitation, heightened awareness, and outright fear of the procedures associated with a typical visit to the dentist. This anxiety robs people of the opportunity to get their teeth and gums inspected by a dental expert. If you find yourself dreading the idea of visiting a dentist, it is good to talk about your fears with a trusted friend or a therapist. Going to see a dentist with someone you trust can help as well. Talk to the dental practitioner so that they’ll understand what they can help you with.

Dental Erosion and Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are the sort of mental health issues that have lasting effects on the body’s health. People with eating disorders greatly lack proper nutrition and that damages the enamel of the teeth over time. For those affected by Bulimia, the stomach acid causes the teeth to erode. Affected persons must seek immediate counseling to effectively battle eating disorders. The tooth enamel cannot heal by itself and will need a dentist to secure the damaged teeth before any treatments are enacted.

Good Oral Hygiene and Its Effects
When people take active steps to build good oral habits like brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, limiting sugary drinks, and taking prescribed trips to the dentist’s office they can significantly boost their mental health. Having healthy teeth and a healthier smile lends confidence in one’s appearance and appeal. This effectively gives them the boost they need to go out and mingle in social circles. Social individuals lower their risk for mental health issues as they tend to build healthy networks to safeguard themselves.

Mental health and oral health are closely intertwined. It would be wise to build good oral hygiene habits and get sufficient help when needed. This way, you can enjoy a healthier life and a healthier mind, too.