Many people consider oral health as part of your physical health, but often overlook its impact on an individual’s mental illness. Both factors are interlinked and also has a direct impact on each other. Poor dental hygiene can result in self-esteem issues and social anxieties, while many forms of mental conditions also experience poor dental health.
It’s a cycle that continues to drag each other down, which is especially common in people struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-harm, schizophrenia, and psychosis.
How Oral Health Affects Mental Health
Individuals who are already battling mental conditions often lack the self-confidence and energy to establish good habits involving their oral hygiene. Seeing as they already suffer from volatile and sensitive emotions, the unfortunate appearance from yellowing, decaying, or lost teeth can have detrimental implications for a depressive person.
Something like chronic bad breath can also exacerbate social anxiety, which makes matters worse for their depression and road to self-recovery. Poor oral health also has a surprising correlation with memory loss. Diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis can travel through the bloodstream to the brain.
These gum diseases can contribute to the destruction of the neurons in the brain, which can result in memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease, according to research. However, more researchers need more data to confirm the correlation between oral infections and brain conditions.
How Mental Health Affects Oral Health
On the opposite end of the spectrum, mental health can also cause negative ramifications on a person’s oral health. Patients that suffer from mental illnesses can also deal with the following issues:
- Neglect - Research finds that a large number of people with mental illnesses often avoid dental care, which is why oral hygiene of often neglected. Poor habits like these can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, but the worst part is that dental phobia can also stop people from seeking professional medical help.
- Dental Erosion - People that have mental conditions like bulimia, for instance, are susceptible to dental erosion. This happens when the acidity from the vomit damages the teeth’s enamel, while low levels of calcium can also degrade the health of your set of pearls.
- Reduced Saliva Flow - Some medications given to treat mental illnesses can have adverse effects on your oral health. Instances like a decrease in the production of saliva can lead to chronic dry mouth.
- Chipping Away at the Teeth’s Enamel - Research finds that people with bipolar and other similar disorders tend to practice over-vigorous brushing actions, which can thin out the enamel on the teeth’s surface.
The Bottom Line: Taking Care of Your Health Should Follow a Holistic Approach
Taking care of your health requires a holistic approach as many aspects of your health are often interlined - from your oral, physical, and mental state. All can affect each other in powerful ways, which is why finding a holistic dentist that can cater to dental anxieties is a must.
If you’re looking for affordable dentistry in Ann Arbor, get in touch today to see how we can help! We put the patient experience first, so you can expect excellent cosmetic dentistry to meet with ultimate comfort.