Like many people, you may see oral health in purely physical terms. It’s easy, after all, to believe healthy teeth and gums only benefit your body. In truth, however, your mouth’s condition also impacts your mind – and vice-versa! As a result, poor health in one leads to poor health in the other. You should thus keep track of each to ensure your life is thriving. Luckily, your local dentist can help. Here, then, are the ways that oral and mental health relate and how to keep them both on track.
Unhealthy Mouth, Unhealthy Mind
If your mouth declines in health, chances are it’ll lower your confidence and self-image. From there, you’ll be at greater risk of mental illness.
You see, oral problems – tooth pain, missing teeth, bad breath, etc. – can harm crucial parts of your life. For example, oral pain or missing teeth can cause peer communication problems. This challenge, in turn, might lead to trouble at work or with friends and family. Such trouble can then grow big enough to cause anxiety, depression, or other unstable emotions.
Low Mood Means Oral Damage
As it happens, mental health issues can interfere with teeth and gum maintenance. Mood disorders, especially, often cause life changes that hurt your mouth.
Consider, say, clinical depression. Since this condition lowers motivation, it may make your oral care routines hard to maintain and manage. Rather than work toward a healthy smile and see it as worthwhile, you might think there’s no point in having one and neglect oral hygiene.
Similarly, anxiety might prompt you to develop bad oral habits. You might, for instance, manifest your stress as teeth grinding and jaw clenching – problems that trigger tooth damage. On the other hand, someone could take out their anxiety on their teeth via overbrushing. In that case, they’d suffer from tooth sensitivity and receding gums.
Making the Link Work for You
Thankfully, there are ways to make the mouth-mind link work in your favor. All you have to do is adopt the right practices. In particular, try out the following tips as listed below:
· Seek Professional Therapy – If you believe you have depression, seek professional help right away. With a proper diagnosis and treatment (therapy, medication, lifestyle, etc.), your motivation toward oral care may rise. You’d then have better teeth that help with confidence and body image.
· Turn Oral Care into Self-Care – When brushing your teeth, try to say positive affirmations about yourself. That way, you’ll link oral care with a better self-image. Furthermore, gradual improvements in your teeth will make the affirmations feel justified.