January 6, 2023
Are you suffering from depression, anxiety, or severe stress? Your mental health can take a toll on your overall health and your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. But did you know that your mental health and oral health are connected, too? Any time your brain experiences problems that keep you from feeling your best, you can often expect to see issues arise inside your mouth. Find out how this link can be damaging to your future smile and what you can do to maintain better oral health.
How Are Mental and Oral Health Connected?
If you think about it, stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns create problems that often show through in the workplace, at home, in both personal and professional relationships, and your overall health. But have you considered how it negatively impacts your teeth and gums as well?
When you feel depressed, it is unlikely that you have the desire to take proper care of yourself. You may have trouble getting out of bed even. As a result, you may not take care of your smile like you should, increasing your chances of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
Another potential problem is that you may neglect to keep your regular dental checkups and cleanings, preventing your dentist from making sure your smile is in good shape.
When it comes to the scientific changes that can occur inside the mouth as it relates to mental health, the body produces more cortisol, the stress hormone. When activated, it weakens your immune system and makes it harder for your body to fight off infections like gum disease. Without timely treatment, you run the risk of bone and tooth loss as well as problems developing throughout the rest of your body.
What Can You Do to Minimize Stress and Improve Oral Health?
Stress is something all individuals should learn to better manage. You can do this by:
- Talking to a counselor if you need help
- Going for a walk or adding more exercise into your daily routine
- Taking a long, warm bath to relax
- Read a book
- Meditate and practice breathing exercises
Also, to ensure that your mouth remains cavity- and infection-free, don’t forget to maintain good oral hygiene, see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings, eat a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich foods, quit smoking, limit your sugars and starches, wear a nightguard if you have bruxism, and never use your teeth as tools.
Your smile is uniquely yours, and you should do all you can to keep it healthy. If stress or another mental health issue attempts to cause problems, remember these tips to improve your mood, mind, and mouth.
About the Practice
At McDougal and Richards Dentistry, we want you to enjoy a happier, healthier smile. To do this, there are a few key steps you should take to ensure your mouth is protected each day. One of these is by practicing good self-care and managing your mental health. Because stress and depression can manifest in various ways, including the mouth, our team is here to ensure your teeth and gums as well as your mind remains in optimal shape. Contact us at (972) 231-5376 to find out how we can help.
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