Your Teeth are Counting on You
Get your head right! A balanced headspace has an immense impact on your entire body, which includes your teeth. There’s no getting by with slacking in any one area of your health. Everything’s connected, which means when there is a problem in one area, another area is sure to be affected. When it comes to your mind and your teeth, feeling good all around is the best way to be.
Mental Health Guides Your Behavior
Positive feelings influence our actions, just like negative feelings. We tend to act in unbeneficial ways when our mind works against us. Dealing with any mental illness can be uncomfortable and exhausting. As a result, you’re more likely to reach for things like tobacco and sugary treats. Both of these can pose problems for your oral health such as causing oral cancer or cavities. On top of that, you’ll be less likely to take care of yourself when in a gloomier state. Let’s take depression and oral health, for example. If depression makes it hard to get out of bed, you’ll be less likely to complete your oral routine in the morning. Understanding the impact that your mental health has on your behaviors is key to getting yourself back on track.
Physical Signs of Poor Mental Health
Stress can so easily get out of control and wreak havoc on our lives. For those with poor mental health, stress often becomes an unwanted companion. Stress releases a hormone known as cortisol. As it turns out, excess cortisol is a recipe for a weakened immune system, which means you have an increased likelihood of developing bacterial infections like gum disease. Canker sores and cold sores can also show up when the body is under constant stress. While these can be very annoying, physical side effects of stress are the body’s way of telling you to take a deep breath and slow down. Your body needs you to be well, so take heart and listen.
SSRI’s & Teeth Grinding
No doubt in our minds! Teeth grinding and anxiety are basically best friends. Grinding places a massive amount of force on your teeth, making you susceptible to jaw pain, chipped teeth, and headaches. What a pain! Often glanced over, teeth grinding can also be a side effect of taking SSRI’s (commonly prescribed antidepressants). This includes other side effects like dry mouth and susceptibility to oral infections. If you’re taking these antidepressants for your mental health, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your oral health routine and regular dental visits. If you are someone that grinds at night, you may need a mouthguard for teeth clenching. While this will not stop the grinding, the mouthguard will protect your teeth and prevent more expensive problems down the road.
A Word on Eating Disorders
Mental health disorders of any kind can be bad news for your oral health. Eating disorders are no exception and can be extra disastrous for the mouth. Poor nutrition means that we are lacking vitamins and minerals that keep our bodies and mouths healthy. Dry mouth can also result from both a lack of nutritious food and vomiting. A dentist is skilled at detecting repetitive vomiting due to the impact it has on your teeth. Enamel erosion can be a huge problem when stomach acid touches the enamel (outer layer of teeth). If you do vomit for any reason at all, be sure to rinse with water right away, but wait at least 20-30 minutes before brushing. Doing so too early can erode your enamel and make things worse. Try to chew sugar-free gum and drink lots of water throughout the day as well. This way, your mouth stays moist. Of course, it’s crucial to reach out to a professional that can help you recover in a way that works for you.
Feeling Good in Your Mind, Body, Spirit, and Mouth
Feeling good takes effort. If you truly want to keep your oral health and mental health in check, take action! Start with your teeth by maintaining a manageable oral health routine and by visiting your dentist. No matter what happens, you must stick with it. Should you need help with getting motivated, go here. Once you get into the groove of taking care of your body, we wouldn’t be surprised if you start feeling just a little better. It’s amazing what a little self-care can do for you. Finally, do what you need to do to get your head right. Take time off, seek help, go on an adventure, take a bath every day, or do whatever it is that you look forward to. When you get in tune with activities designed to leave you in a more positive state, you’ll be better prepared to take on new challenges ahead.