Oral health isn’t just connected to your body’s physical health; it’s also connected to your mental health.
Growing research shows that people who have mental health problems also often have dental problems like periodontitis.
When people don’t properly care for their mouth, they tend to find themselves feeling embarrassed about how their teeth look. They may not want to eat or drink around other people, and avoiding being with others can further affect their state of mind.
Those who suffer from mental health disorders are more likely to also have negative coping habits. Sometimes they also avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or phobias. Here are some negative behaviors linked to mental illness that can cause oral health problems:
- Poor nutrition due to loss of appetite
- Eating and/or drinking too many foods and beverages loaded with sugar
- Dental anxiety
- Dry mouth
- Alcohol and/or drug use
The good news is that properly caring for your mouth can be simple and inexpensive and can prevent bigger health problems both physically and mentally.
Here are some ways to care for your teeth and mouth:
- Stop smoking
- Cut down on sugary foods and drinks
- See your dentist twice a year
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Check out our tips for properly caring for your teeth at home
How to look after your mental health:
Mental health is critical to your overall health. If you have a toothache, you see a dentist. If you’re sick, you see a doctor. If you’re not feeling right mentally, it’s just as important to see a licensed mental health professional. Here are some other simple ways to take care of your mental health:
- Exercise regularly. It can increase your self esteem and release endorphins in your brain that help improve your mood.
- Stay connected with friends and family. If you don’t know anyone nearby, volunteer your time so you can get out there and meet new people.