Modern science has proven that our mental health is inevitably linked to our physical health and vice versa. Mental health problems that cause people to stop caring for themselves lead to the worsening of physical health, and health professionals are beginning to take action to prevent this. Despite this, there is still a lack of public awareness on how physical health can affect mental health, with many individuals assuming that they are entirely different subjects.
Activities such as skincare routines or even exercising for leisure have been promoted by health advocates to be a form of self-care. Still, dental health is often left excluded in the conversation. But just as exercising can help stabilize our mental health, so too can dental health.
A Vicious Cycle
Teeth, gum, and even jaw problems can be brought about by a lack of personal maintenance. This results in a vicious chicken-and-egg cycle where an individual finds themselves to have compounding problems due to their oral health affecting their mental health, and their mental health making it difficult to seek the appropriate solutions to their dental problems. Different mental health issues affect people differently, but the common response of neglect and lack of self-care worsens the problem, requiring a way to break the cycle of disrepair.
There are many sources of anxiety, and often physical appearance plays a large part in them. Those who need orthodontic aligners might find themselves anxious over their crooked teeth, and those with halitosis find it a source of concern (especially in public situations). Even speech can be affected because of poor dental health. It’s the inevitable truth that many have to contend with, which makes efforts to maintain good oral health all the more necessary.
Your dietary habits play a direct role in dental health, as what you eat affects the condition of your teeth and gums. Anorexia often causes a nutritional deficiency in the body, resulting in a lack of calcium and fluoride that strengthen the teeth. Even bulimia is a cause of concern, as vomiting releases dangerous gut acid resulting in tooth decay.
Poor oral health can most likely lead to depression, and research has been shown to prove that. Having depression often results in lacking the energy required to take care of oneself, leading to a chain of problems that eventually lead to a bad dental situation. Forgetting to brush the teeth due to dissociation, bad diet caused by depression, and general self-neglect compounds depression, creating the vicious cycle we spoke of.
There is no cure like prevention. Even if you think you’re healthy, it’s still important to put effort into taking care of yourself to decrease the risk of disease. Preventive health measures and good habits often won’t take too much of your time, especially if you integrate them into your daily life. Here’s how you can do that.
A discussion of mental health will not be complete without the mention of a support system. And in the case of both dental and mental health, your support system can do more than remind you to brush your teeth. They can practice good habits with you, making you feel more encouraged and motivated. Your support system can also help you visit the appropriate medical professionals, should you ever feel anxious about going to one.
Create good dental health habits such as regularly brushing your teeth, flossing, and gargling with mouthwash. Reinforce these good habits by creating self-reminders. Don’t assume that you can remember doing them. Having an external reminder can do wonders in keeping yourself in check.
Make it convenient for you
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re maintaining good dental habits is to make the process easier for you. This involves simple things, such as having your toothbrush on your sink instead of a medicine box or even having an electric toothbrush if you find brushing a hassle. By making it easier for yourself, you’re more likely to do it, resulting in better overall health.
Finally, Consult a Professional
Of course, the best advice comes from health professionals and medical practitioners. They can provide you with adequate care and services, even point you to the right surgical operations if need be. If you’re already afflicted with dental problems, the best (and only solution) is to go to a dentist to have your teeth and gums checked. Visiting a mental health professional will also greatly improve your chances of recovery. Never overlook the value of professional input, especially when it comes to our health.