Taking care of your teeth and mouth is generally more than just keeping your teeth clean and breath smelling good. Your mental health must allow you to take care of your oral health. Studies have shown that those who have poor mental health may end up losing their teeth at a much faster rate. If one is depressed, for example, even brushing your teeth is a hard task, which can lead to tooth decay. Poor oral health affects your teeth and can affect your mental health.
A first way that poor oral health affects your mental health is due to affecting your confidence. If you have missing or rotting teeth due to poor oral health or because of tooth disease, it can definitely hurt your confidence. When you speak, the first thing people see is your teeth, and people can be judgmental. Someone who has pearly whites is judged as having good hygiene as, while someone who has rotting teeth is judged as being lazy, on drugs, or just disgusting. If you had tooth decay because of other reasons not due to the preconceived judgments it is hard to explain and get someone to change their mind. Poor confidence can lead to anxiety, which leads to depression. If your oral health is poor, the domino effect tends to happen.
A second way poor oral health can affect your mental health is due to possibly leading to memory loss. If you don’t take care of your teeth, you may end up losing your memories, developing dementia, and having other brain diseases. There is there is evidence to show that gingivitis and other gum disease bacteria can go into your brain and affect how it functions. If you have ever watched a mouthwash commercial and thought that it can help prevent gingivitis now you know why this is important.
Alternatively, poor mental health can lead to poor oral health. A first way poor mental health can lead to poor oral health is it can lead to too much of a good thing which ends up causing damage. Those who have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are constant about brushing their teeth. However, too much brushing and/or flossing can damage your gums and can hurt your teeth as well.
A second way poor mental health can lead to poor oral health is it can cause damage due to food and nutrient intake. Those who have eating disorders such as bulimia may not be getting enough nutrients. Bulimic people tend to throw up their food, and which causes acid in vomit damaging teeth. Those who have addictions can consume substances that can decay teeth. Tobacco use is a good example, and so is abusing alcohol. Being addicted to sugary foods is another example where the foods you take in can harm your teeth.
A third way poor mental health can lead to poor oral health is it can lead to avoiding the dentist and getting dental care. Some people are scared of going to the dentist which is known as dental phobia. Unlike people with a reasonable fear of the dentist, those with dental phobia are so scared they won’t even bother getting a checkup.
Having good oral health and mental health sets a positive example for you, your children, and everyone around you. No matter if poor oral health is contributing to poor mental health or if poor mental health is contributing to poor oral health you may benefit from counseling. For example if you’re depressed and you suffer from a mental disorder so debilitating that you can’t even brush your teeth, you should look into counseling. As another example if you’re not confident about your appearance because of poor oral health, a counselor can help. In this situation a counselor can help you understand how to get past judgmental people. Further, if your dental phobia is leading to poor oral health because you haven’t seen a dentist in years, a counsel can help. In any instance a counselor can help better define what can be done for you in your unique situation. Until then, happy brushing and flossing.