Several studies have already established a link between oral health and general well-being. This means poor oral hygiene is believed to cause a variety of health issues including diabetes, heart issues, kidney problems, dementia, and mental illness. Naturally, we can see how a lack of oral care can severely affect the quality of life and even could cause debilitating situations in life.
In fact, the link between poor oral hygiene and mental health is something that everyone should take notice of and try to not get stuck in its vicious cycle. Those who have poor oral health are plagued with chronic pain and inflammation in the mouth which can lead to anxiety and depression.
People who have poor oral health almost always have poor self-esteem. Similarly, those with common mental illnesses are more likely to have an adverse impact on their oral health than the rest. Such illnesses can cause general neglect of oral care, lead to excessive grinding and become a reason for damaged gums through careless brushing.
Mental health, however, should never be an excuse for taking oral care lightly as there are people who suffer from mental issues yet don’t forget taking care of their oral health. You can do the same and brush, floss, rinse and clean the tongue and take other steps for total oral care.
People need to understand that well
- There is always a close link between physical health and mental health
- A lot of research has proved that those who experience mental health issues are also likely to suffer from poor oral health
- People with anxiety, depression can have a negative impact on their oral health issues
- Poor oral health is also common among people suffering from panic attacks, psychosis, and schizophrenia-like severe mental problems
- People who have eating disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder may also have their oral health impacted negatively.
It’s clear to us there is a connection between the health of the body and the health of the mind. Most of us, however, are not able to understand how mental health could induce dental problems or vice versa. Well, those suffering from mental illness exhibit some traits or personality issues that become the cause of oral problems in them.
Let’s look at the ways in which bad mental health could include your dental problem
People who suffer from mental illnesses are more likely to find it difficult to think rationally or act reasonably. So obviously most of them avoid dental care for days or sometimes months on end. This very neglect of their oral hygiene becomes the cause of all oral problems in them. This is how people with mental health issues suffer from gum disease and tooth decay and other common oral problems.
Most of us are scared of the dentist. A mere mention of the name ‘dentist’ gets to our nerves and we try everything to somehow avoid the next visit to the clinic. Some people have this fear in the extreme form bordering on dental phobia. You just can’t make them see the dentist, no matter what. Naturally, such people don’t visit the dentist regularly and this behavior can affect their oral health negatively. People who have mental health issues are facing the effects of anxiety are more likely to have dental phobia than the rest.
The health of our teeth and gums depends on a lot on what we eat. Our food choices and lifestyle choices often have a direct impact on oral health. Similarly, people who suffer from Bulimia or similar mental health conditions are more likely to experience dental erosion as their vomit has acidic content which can weaken the enamel and lead to tooth decay. In some cases, people who are not able to meet the requirements of calcium in the body are also likely to suffer from oral health problems.
Brushing has some etiquettes and we in the best of mental health know that well. We know how to brush and how not to, in order to stay on the right side of our oral health. However, those with bipolar or similar mental health disorders can brush vigorously and this can affect their dental health. When brushing is done with force and in an over-rigorous manner, it can weaken the enamel and lead to premature tooth decay.
People who suffer from mental illnesses are obviously on too many medication. This can have some effects on their health. In fact, medication is one of the leading causes of dry mouth and when that happens, the saliva production in the mouth is impacted. With less saliva, chances of food debris, plaque, and bacteria staying stuck between the teeth are high leading to a variety of oral health concerns. That’s why mental health could put you at a greater risk for oral health concerns.
We can clearly see how people suffering from mental health issues are more likely to suffer from poor oral health. They, however, can understand the value of good oral health and take steps to achieve that.
- People with mental health issues can minimize the risks of oral health by adopting the following measures. Brush twice a day, once in the morning and then before hitting the bed
- Use only fluoride-containing toothpaste for strengthening the enamel and avoiding the risk of cavities
- Minimize the intake of sugary foods and beverages else they can lead to tooth decay
- Brush gently, thoroughly and in a zig-zag manner to clean the teeth thoroughly
- Cut back on items like tea, coffee, soda, cola, alcohol, etc. for healthy teeth
- Visit the dentist regularly at least twice a year for a complete check-up
Clearly, your role as a caregiver before more important when someone with mental health issues is around you. In such cases, you can take them to the dental clinic on a regular basis, motivate them to take oral care seriously, advise them on the right eating habits. This will help everyone stay on the right side of their oral health and enjoy the riches of life as it should be.