Did you know that mental health can greatly impact your oral health? Issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety can affect the integrity of your teeth. Stress can spike the stress hormone cortisol which can weaken the immune system, which makes it easier for bacteria to invade the gums and cause inflammation
The most common reason behind poor dental health in patients who suffer from anxiety and depression is the behavioural effects. It can be difficult to have the discipline to follow a strict oral care routine when battling either of these conditions. Some symptoms include:
loss of interest in self-care
keeping an unhealthy diet leading to poor nutrition
avoiding or forgetting to brush and floss daily
skipping regular visits to the dentist
Patients with anxiety disorders may neglect their oral health altogether and are at an increased risk for:
Some mental health illnesses require patients to take medication to treat their condition and those medications may have side effects that impact their oral health as well. One of the most common side effects is dry mouth. This can increase the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Self-Care and your oral health is extremely important.
What can you do?
We know it can be very challenging to take care of yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed. Here are some tips that can help.
Make a plan and write it down! Put simple reminders in your calendar to brush and floss twice a day. Also, make a meal plan and choose healthier food options for meals and snacks.
Make an appointment with your dentist to discuss some fo the symptoms you are experiencing and allow them create a treatment plan that will lower the impact of your stress and anxiety on your teeth and gums. For example, if you tend to clench your jaw or grind your teeth a properly fitted mouth guard may be a great solution.
Trying new ways to manage your stress that you may not have tried before such as meditation and exercise.
Taking small steps each day towards taking better care of yourself can make a huge impact on your overall health and mental well being.
It is very important to discuss any mental health issues and medications you are taking with your dentist. Here at Cedar Tree Dental we understand that caring for our patients does not just mean creating a treatment plan for an individual’s teeth, but that a person is connected to those teeth and it is important to listen and understand the full picture of their needs.