How Do Oral Health and Mental Health Correlate?

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Last Updated on March 20, 2023

Your oral health affects your mental health and vice versa. Some people may find that hard to believe, but there are indeed existing connections between them. Keep reading to find out how oral and mental health correlate.

Your oral health affects your mental health and vice versa. Some people may find that hard to believe, but there are indeed existing connections between them. Keep reading to find out how oral and mental health correlate.
black woman wide smiling with lips with red lipstick

Poor Mental Health May Lead to Inadequate Oral Hygiene

Mental health issues affect people in different ways. They may cause significant personality changes and prompt affected individuals to alienate their friends. Even a person’s oral health is not spared from the effects of a mental health problem.

According to the Oral Health Foundation, people who suffer from mental illness tend to neglect their dental hygiene. They may forget about brushing, flossing, and other important dental habits. If that kind of neglect persists, the person affected may have to deal with more serious dental issues moving forward.

Anxiety May Be a Catalyst for Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding can gradually wear down your teeth and make them more susceptible to permanent damage. You may also grind your teeth so much that they become very sensitive. Once that happens, you may have a tough time simply eating your food.

So, why do people grind their teeth anyway? Stress is seen as the primary cause of it, but anxiety plays a role as well. Your undiagnosed anxiety may be directly impacting your oral health because you cannot keep your grinding habit in check.

Low Self-Esteem Can Cause People to Avoid the Dentist

According to the CDC, 46% of adults aged 30 years old or above present signs of gum disease. Unfortunately, many people are insecure about problems like that. Their low self-esteem prevents them from obtaining the medical attention they need.

Note that only one out of three orthodontic patients is an adult. Given the statistic we just mentioned about adults and gum disease, that number should be higher. Hopefully, more people can overcome the perceived embarrassment that comes with having poor dental health so they can receive proper care.

Mental Health Issues That Affect Nutrition Also Impact Oral Health

Many people out there have distorted views of their bodies. Because they are unhappy with how they look, they resort to habits such as binging and purging. Developing a habit such as that is dangerous. It also adversely affects oral health. That’s because the acid in vomit is not good for the teeth.

Even if you don’t binge and purge, you can still jeopardize your oral health by eating poorly. Because you’ve become so dependent on certain unhealthy foods, you may deprive your teeth and gums of important nutrients. Continue eating that way and your teeth will likely suffer.

A Mental Disorder May Cause You to Develop Improper Hygiene Habits

Certain mental disorders cause people to develop unusual habits. For example, you may brush your teeth too many times because of your obsessive-compulsive disorder. You may also end up brushing your teeth too forcefully because of your aggressive tendencies.

Both of those issues spell trouble for your teeth. It won’t take long before your teeth wear down if you have those habits. You must seek treatment immediately so you can preserve both your oral and mental health.

You Can Treat Your Oral and Mental Health Problems in a Variety of Ways

Remember that you have the power to treat your oral and mental health issues. Work closely with professionals so they can come up with treatment plans crafted especially for you. Take medication if your dentist or psychiatrist believes it can help.

Individuals who need mental health treatment specifically can also try transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a non-invasive form of treatment used to treat conditions such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The side effects of TMS go away within two weeks of initial treatment. After this time period and over time, you may start noticing the positive effects of TMS.

Do you or someone you know currently suffer from oral or mental health issues? By using the information in this article, you may be able to help yourself or your loved one more effectively.

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