You may be aware of all the ways that your oral health can affect your life and your mental health. Oral health and mental health are linked in a variety of ways, and taking care of your mouth can not only make you feel better. Regular dental checkups can also help your doctor and dentist understand how you are feeling and help find the best treatment. These simple dental checkups can improve your attitude, your perspective, and your approach to life.
Many of those who suffer from anxiety or depression may have discovered their condition at the dental office. Bruxism (clenching or grinding of the teeth) is often a result of lifestyle factors such as anxiety or excessive use of alcohol. In many cases, patients don’t even realize that they are grinding their teeth, and a dental diagnosis can help these patients consider how their mental health might be the root of the issue. A follow-up appointment with a medical doctor can lead such patients to change lifestyle habits or even to seek professional mental health assistance for depression and anxiety.
The opposite can also be true – poor oral health has been linked not only to untreated dental or health conditions but also to medications used in the treatment of mental health issues. Dry mouth is very common for patients who are taking medication for depression or anxiety. Dry mouth can contribute to gum disease and other oral health issues. Your dentist can help you manage side effects like dry mouth so that your oral health doesn’t suffer while you address your mental health.
Your smile can be a major factor in your overall happiness and health as well. Research shows that smiling can improve more than your mental health. Inc.com reports that when you smile you not only boost your mood but may actually extend your life. A confident smile changes how people see you, and your smile can be very important when you try to snag the perfect job, find the right marriage partner, and keep supportive friends in your life.
But if you have missing, broken, or stained teeth, you may not feel very much like smiling. Many people avoid smiling because they are self-conscious about their teeth. This unwillingness to show your teeth makes you seem less approachable and can affect your ability to enjoy your life. Smiling can also change how your brain operates – the fear of smiling deprives you of these beneficial physical effects.
Regular dental checkups don’t just keep your smile healthy. Monitoring your oral health can help you spot problems you may not otherwise discover and allow you to address them before they become major issues. Modern dentistry offers a wide array of options to improve your smile and make you feel more confident about showing your teeth.
Your dentist can detect early symptoms of systemic health conditions, giving you a “heads up” about issues like acid reflux, anxiety, or body chemistry changes. If you share these changes with your primary care physician, you can address issues affecting your health as efficiently as possible. Early detection may also make it possible for you to prevent severe mental health issues. It is important to discuss your oral health with both your dentist and your family doctor to maximize the benefits of your dental checkups.
With regular dental care, your smile can be the key to a healthy lifestyle. Smiling more often can improve your mood and your health, and it’s contagious! When you smile at others, they are more likely to smile back, spreading good humor to everyone around you. Contact us today and learn how to spread happiness with great oral health!