How Oral Health Impacts Your Mental Health and Well-Being

How Oral Health Impacts Your Mental Health and Well-Being

May 01, 2023

While your mouth is only a small part of your body, it can dramatically affect your overall health and mental well-being. Your mental and oral health are closely connected, meaning that certain oral issues can affect your mental health and vice versa. In this article, let’s learn how oral health impacts your mental health and what you can do about it.

The Connection Between Oral and Mental Health

As far as your mental health is concerned, poor oral health can lead to various mental health problems like stress, anxiety, depression, and memory problems. It can result from various oral factors like pain, inflammation, impaired functions, and cosmetic issues.

A study found that individuals with oral problems were likely to experience mental symptoms like depression and anxiety. For instance, people with missing teeth or severe gum disease may experience embarrassment or self-consciousness, leading to negative self-image and esteem. Preventive dentistry in Shalimar, FL, can help promote good oral and overall health.

On the other hand, mental problems like stress and depression can affect your oral health significantly. For instance, stress is closely associated with bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorders. Similarly, when stressed, the body releases the cortisol hormone. High cortisol levels can weaken immune function and inflammation, increasing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Oral Problems that can Affect Your Mental Health

Below are five oral conditions that can impact your mental health:

  • Gum disease
  • Despite emphasizing proper oral hygiene and practice, millions still struggle with gum disease. Gum or periodontal disease refers to the infection and inflammation of the gum tissues. The harmful bacteria that cause gum disease can enter the bloodstream and travel to other body parts like the brain and heart, leading to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is closely linked to stress, depression, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Cosmetic issues
  • Dental imperfections like missing, broken, misaligned, misshapen, or stained teeth can make you feel less attractive, leading to low self-esteem and self-confidence. You may avoid social events or hide your smile for fear of criticism. Correcting these issues with cosmetic dentistry can restore your beautiful smile and make you feel better and confident about yourself.

  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
  • TMJ is a serious condition that affects the temporomandibular joints (the joints that connect your jawbone to the skull). TMJ is often associated with mild to severe pain, difficulty chewing or speaking, and inflammation, which can cause stress and depression.

  • Oral cancer
  • Oral or mouth cancer is a serious health condition that can lead to severe pain, discomfort, and inflammation, affecting mental well-being. Oral cancer treatments can also lead to stress and depression.

  • Bruxism
  • Teeth grinding or clenching can affect your mental health and vice versa. Bruxism can lead to numerous side effects like tooth damage, oral pain, inflammation, sleep deprivation, headaches, and insomnia. These conditions can negatively impact your mental health.

Tips for Maintaining Excellent Oral and Mental Health

Proper oral care and hygiene can prevent oral problems that impact your mental well-being. Below are key tips for keeping your mouth healthy:

  • Brush your teeth gently and thoroughly twice daily. Brush for at least 2 minutes at a time.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and antiseptic mouthwash.
  • Get routine fluoride treatments.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every 3-4 months.
  • Avoid abrasive dental products.
  • Floss at least once daily.
  • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Limit foods and beverages with sugar and acids as they can lead to decay and gum disease.
  • Avoid damaging habits like chewing or biting hard items like ice, nails, or pens.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol abuse.
  • Schedule routine dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Visit our dentist in Shalimar, FL, if you have existing oral problems.

Since your mental health can also lead to poor oral health, managing mental conditions can promote good oral and mental health. Below are a few steps to improve your mental health:

  • Physical activities like exercises can boost your mood and mental health
  • Engage in social activities. Interacting with friends, family, and workmates can give you a sense of belonging and support and improve your self-confidence, positively impacting your mental health.
  • Relaxing techniques. Yoga and meditation can manage stress and depression and promote overall well-being.
  • See a doctor or therapist. See a doctor near you if you’re struggling with a mental condition. Ensure you take all the medication as directed.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Do you have more questions about the connection between your oral and mental health? Or are you looking for preventive dentistry near you? Contact Complete Health Dentistry of the Emerald Coast for more information.

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