We have heard that our mental health regulates the well-being of the whole body. But did you ever hear that your mental health also has an impact on your oral health? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. It has been found out through numerous researches that people suffering from mental health issues are more likely to get oral conditions like gum and teeth problems. Once you maintain your oral health, this can also help in improving your mental health. Keep reading to know more about the little-known connection between mental health and dental health.
Establishing the connection between dental and mental health
There is a definite link between your dental hygiene and mental health. Several studies reveal a strong link between depression, negligence of dental hygiene, and consequences like periodontal diseases. When you’re depressed, you stop taking care of yourself. Oral care is probably the last thing that’ll come to your mind when you’re already depressed. Lack of dental care will lead to gum diseases, bad breath, cavities, and several other hygiene issues.
When you’re anxious about your dental issues, this leads to dental anxiety. Dental anxiety plays a vital role in your oral hygiene. Such people are irritated by the thought of visiting a dentist and getting themselves checked. You can read more on how dentists prescribe your dental hygiene. Such feelings usually stem from a previous bad experience that the person may have had with a dentist.
According to a study done in 2019, 68% of 584 patients suffered from dental anxiety. What are the symptoms that a person with dental phobia or anxiety may experience? Here are a few of them:
- Profuse sweating
- Heart palpitations or racing heartbeat
- Signs of distress like crying unnecessarily
- Fainting or low blood pressure
- Humor as a defensive mechanism for hiding anxiety
How oral health has an impact on mental health
Little do we realize that our mental and oral health are very closely connected. Disorders of mental health may lead to other coping habits like smoking. Smoking has a direct impact on your oral health. Some people suffering from mental health issues may even refrain from visiting a dentist. People with diseases like depression and anxiety may show symptoms as follows:
- A sudden loss of appetite which causes a lack of nutrition
- A strong fear of visiting the dentist
- Drinking or eating too many sugary foods
- Difficulty in brushing teeth
- Lack of energy
- Drug or alcohol use
- Dry mouth
Poor oral hygiene also leads to bad breath and changes in speech. This in turn leads to social anxiety and hurts your self-esteem. As people with mental health issues are more prone to dental health problems, they are more likely to suffer from a self-image issues.
If you want to break this vicious cycle, you have to find a best friend in your dentist. Follow the solutions that your dentist recommends as this will do you more good than harm.