Connecting Dental Hygiene & Your Mental Health: A Co-Existent Relationship

Research has established that there is a direct link between our dental hygiene and our mental health.

When it comes to our dental hygiene, we understand how important it is to take care of both our teeth and gums and know that regular dental visits are critical at maintaining our mouth health.

However, when it comes to attending the appointment, many of us experience some severity of dental anxiety, acute stress, or even sometimes outright panic attacks.

Not only does this stop us from scheduling regular visits, but it has a direct impact on our mental health as well.

So much so, that research has established that there is a direct link between our dental hygiene and our mental health.

Let’s take a look at how this two-way connection works.

What Are Some Common Problems That Individuals Face?

When looking at the connection between dental hygiene and mental health, there are several problems that individuals can face.

  • Individuals with mental illness conditions such as depression and bipolar are more likely to have brushing issues.  Those with depression may lose focus on their oral habits leading to irregular brushing [2], and those with bipolar may brush their teeth too vigorously leading to enamel erosion [3].
  • Individuals that take antipsychotic or antidepressant medications may be more susceptible to oral bacterial infections. Individuals who take lithium for bipolar are more likely to have dry mouth [4], which means there is less saliva to get rid of bacteria. The more bacteria in your mouth, the higher chance of developing gum disease.
  • Individuals with eating disorders may not get the proper nutrition to boost their immune system, leaving themselves with a higher chance of developing oral infections. Those who vomit, are more susceptible to tooth decay due to stomach acid [5].
  • Individuals that have poor dental health may have increased social anxiety due to tooth decay that can be seen when smiling. Halitosis can also cause an individual’s self-esteem to plummet.
  • Individuals with severe mental illness are 2.7 times likely to lose their teeth [6], impacting their self-image and physical appearance.

If you are struggling with poor dental hygiene or mental health conditions, please reach out for professional help either with your dentist or with a professional mental health counselor.

Beyond this, it is advisable to brush and floss twice a day, use mouth wash to kill unwanted bacteria, and schedule routine dental visits.

If you’d like to check the condition of your teeth, or maybe even make some cosmetic enhancements, feel free to get in touch today.

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