What pops up in your mind when you think about oral health?
Cavity-free teeth? Bright white smile? Good smelling mouth?
That’s it, right?
But oral health is much bigger than this.Oral healthaffects your mental health.
Sounds unrelated but it’s true!
Studies have shown that people with oral problems are more likely to suffer from psychological distress and lower quality of life than those with good oral health.A poor oral health affects you mentally and impacts your well-being!
In this blog post, we will explore some of the ways that oral health and mental health are connected, and how you can improve both aspects of your health by taking care of your teeth and gums.
Below are the effects of poor oral health which can subsequently lead to poor mental health.
- LOW CONFIDENCE: One of the most obvious links between oral health and mental health is self-esteem. Having poor oral health can affect how you feel about yourself and your appearance, which can lead to low confidence, self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression. On the other hand, having good oral health can boost your confidence and make you feel more attractive and comfortable in social situations.
- SOCIAL ISOLATION: People who are unhappy with their overall oral health (dirty teeth, bad smell, gum diseases, etc.) may avoid social interactions because they may feel embarrassed. This can result in loneliness which can affect your mental health deeply.
- CHRONIC PAIN: Dental problems like gum disease, tooth loss and decay can cause severe pain that can affect your daily activities, mood and sleep quality. Chronic pain can also trigger stress hormones and inflammatory responses in the body, which can worsen your mood and increase your risk of developing mental disorders such as stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia.
- SYSTEMIC DISEASES: There is a relationship between oral infections and systemic diseases. Oral infections such as periodontitis (gum disease) can spread to other parts of the body and cause or aggravate serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and dementia. These conditions can in turn affect your mental health by increasing your stress levels, impairing your cognitive function, and reducing your life expectancy. Therefore, maintaining good oral hygienereduces the risk of developing or worsening systemic diseases.
- NUTRITIONAL DEIFICIENCY: Oral health can also influence mental health through its effects on nutrition and brain function. Having poor oral health can make it difficult to eat a balanced diet, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and affect your brain health. For example, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, memory loss, and mood swings. Moreover, some oral infections can spread to the brain and cause serious complications such as meningitis, abscesses, and encephalitis.
As you can see, oral health and mental health are closely intertwined and influence each other in many ways.
By taking care of your oral health, you are not only protecting your teeth and gums, but also improving your mental health and overall well-being. For tips to help you achieve optimal oral health, check out our blog: Why is oral Health so important!
Remember: A healthy mouth is a happy mouth! #KeepSmiling