Is the Oral Health and Mental Health Link Real?

Is the Oral Health and Mental Health Link Real?

African American dentist with protective workwear performing medical exam on female patient at dental clinic.
African American dentist with protective workwear performing medical exam on female patient at dental clinic.


When brushing your teeth, after or before bed, you are probably not thinking about how oral health can affect your mental wellbeing. While it seems like a huge leap to take when trying to understand that your teeth have any connection with your mental health, multiple scientific studies have shown that the mental and oral wellbeing link is real.

Oral health impacts your mental and overall wellbeing. Regular dentist visits have helped many people identify and diagnose mental problems. Once they identify these mental issues, dentists make referrals to therapists and counselors.

Mental health can also affect your oral wellbeing. It’s easier to understand how simple things such as regular dentist check-ups, brushing, and flossing keep your gum and teeth healthy. Anxiety, depression, and chronic stress can impact oral health in multiple ways.

That is why it’s advisable to find dentists in Port Charlotte, Florida, who can also help you identify some mental problems. Let’s read on to discover more.

Oral Health and Mental Illness

Mental issues affect your behaviors, thoughts, and mood. Undiagnosed or diagnosed mental illness can lead to a lack of motivation, including taking care of your oral and overall wellbeing. Anxiety and depression are, in most cases, associated with multiple oral problems, including:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease

Continuous teeth grinding caused by anxiety and stress can result in damage or tooth loss in serious cases. Also, individuals with severe mental problems are likely to have periodontal disease.

Oral Health and Stress

Anxiety and stress are common mental health issues. Stress can significantly increase your heart rate, blood pressure spike, and breathing shallow, resulting in grinding and clenching of teeth. When your body produces excess cortisol, your risk of chronic diseases is high. Also, it has proven to lead to:

  • Cold sores
  • Canker sores
  • Facial or Jaw pain
  • Inflammation of the gum tissues
  • Tension-type headaches

Oral Health and Cognitive Function

Poor oral hygiene and health have been strongly associated with a decline in cognitive function, especially in adults. Several studies have linked the bacteria associated with periodontal health problems to the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

This suggests a close connection between cognitive decline and oral health. You can reduce the risk of cognitive dementia and decline by maintaining excellent oral hygiene.

Oral Health and Social Isolation

Individuals who’ve got poor oral health and hygiene may feel self-conscious about their appearances and sidestep social situations. This leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation. And can have a negative effect on your mental health since social support is important for overall wellbeing.

Benefits of Excellent Oral Health

Many people take good health for granted. However, it plays a vital role in your mental and overall wellbeing. Let’s discover some surprising advantages of excellent oral health care.

  • Reduced risk of heart disease: With excellent oral health care, you can significantly reduce plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Both plaque and bacteria can result in infections and inflammation. These infections have been associated with increased heart problems.
  • Enhanced cognitive function: The bacteria linked to gum disease can find their way into the bloodstream and lead to inflammation in the brain. This has been closely associated with cognitive decline. As you age, keeping your mouth healthy can significantly boost your cognitive function.
  • Reduced risk of stroke: Stroke is also connected to infection and inflammation. You can reduce your risk of stroke by doing simple things like keeping your mouth clean and healthy.
  • Improved fertility: Gum disease has been connected to increased infertility in both women and men. You can improve your chances of conception by simply maintaining good oral health.
  • Better digestion: To ensure proper digestion, keep your gums and teeth healthy. With poor oral health, you can experience issues like diarrhea, constipation, and indigestion.

How to Improve Your Mental Wellbeing

When you’re managing a mental illness, it’s more challenging to take care of your oral health. You can safeguard your oral and mental health by keeping in mind these simple tips:

  • Exercise often: You can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by staying active regularly. Also, exercise releases endorphins, brain chemicals that boost your sense of wellbeing.
  • Eat well-balanced meals: You need to consume food and drinks that can help your gums and teeth get the nutrients they require. Make sure your meals include vegetables and fruits, dairy, and lean protein. Sidestep food and drinks with a lot of sugar.
  • Get enough slip: If you want to enjoy the benefits of good oral, mental, and overall health, get a full night’s rest. Individuals who rest eight hours per night have shown reduced levels of disease progression.
  • Regular dental visits: If you visit your dentist regularly, you’ll identify problems while they’re still minor and handle them easily and cost-effectively. Also, your dentist can provide professional suggestions to help you strengthen your oral health habits.
  • Brush twice and floss daily: To enhance your oral hygiene and health, be sure to brush your teeth twice daily. Use a pea-sized fluoride toothpaste amount to brush, and remember to floss once per day. Brushing and flossing will do wonders for your social, oral, mental, and overall health.

How Does Mental Wellbeing Affect Dental Hygiene?

If a single wellness puzzle piece is misplaced, the other pieces will undoubtedly slip. That means mental health struggles can significantly affect dental hygiene. Individuals with depression mayn’t remember or be motivated to take good care of their oral health.

They may forget about regular flossing and brushing, providing more room for calculus accumulation and tooth decay. Also, they may decide to self-medicate with nutrient-deficient foods, tobacco products, or alcohol, all of which boost tooth decay.

Some individuals with depression mayn’t have an appetite at all. Without enough food, they can become malnourished, preventing their teeth from getting enough minerals and vitamins they require to grow and stay healthy.

Individuals struggling with anxiety may sidestep dentist visits altogether. That means they cannot identify minor oral problems which can go untreated.

Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental problems can lead to serious effects on your oral health. Utilize the tips provided in this piece of content to manage your mental and oral health to boost your overall wellbeing.

About the author

Johnny is dedicated to providing useful information on commonly asked questions on the internet. He is thankful for your support ♥

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