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How is Oral Health Linked to Mental Health_Good oral health may manifest as a pretty smile, but it’s more deeply connected to your overall well-being than you may realize. First of all, poor oral health can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections. But have you ever considered how your teeth and gum are linked to mental health?

Most people overlook this important relationship, but it’s a two-way street—mental health conditions can make maintaining oral health more challenging, and oral health issues can exacerbate mental health problems.

4 Ways Mental Health and Oral Health are Connected

Here are four fascinating ways that mental health and oral health relate to one another.

Struggles with Your Daily Routine

Maintaining good oral health demands a daily commitment to practices like brushing and flossing. For those grappling with mental health disorders like ADHD or depression, even basic self-care tasks, including oral hygiene, feel overwhelming or unimportant.

Anxiety and Dental Appointments

Visits to the dentist’s office are nerve-wracking for many people. This rings particularly true for those with anxiety. Previous experiences with painful procedures or worries about costs can turn a simple check-up into a source of significant stress. As a result, anxiety can become a barrier to receiving timely and essential dental care.

The Impact of Stress

The physical manifestations of stress can directly affect your teeth and gums. Habits like teeth grinding and clenching, which often intensify during stressful periods, can lead to chronic jaw tension, enamel erosion, and other serious dental issues down the line.

Eating Disorders and Oral Health

Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia don’t just affect body image and physical health—they also have serious implications for oral health. The frequent consumption of acidic foods or the act of vomiting can erode tooth enamel, leading to dental issues that require professional restoration.

Medications and Your Mouth

Taking medication for mental health conditions can affect your oral health in surprising ways. For example:

  • Anti-depressants can cause dry mouth, which leads to tooth decay if left unaddressed. If you experience bad breath, dry lips, or mouth sores, you could be dealing with the side effects of anti-depressant medication.
  • Medications for anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or depression may result in bruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding. This can wear down tooth enamel and cause receding gums. What’s more, bruxism often leads to morning headaches and jaw pain.
  • Some anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and sleeping pills cause burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Although rare, BMS is a serious side effect that causes a burning and tingling sensation on the tongue, inside the cheeks, or around the lips. Symptoms may appear alongside bruxism, dry mouth, and oral infections.

Book a Dental Care Appointment in Brooklyn

Clearly, your mental health and oral health are more intertwined than you thought, meaning you can’t neglect one if you hope to maintain the other. At Beyond Dentistry Laser Center, we understand this well. Our practice offers compassionate, patient-centered care aimed at reducing stress and anxiety. We don’t just do dentistry; we change lives. Call us today at 718-436-0202 to schedule an appointment for dental services in Brooklyn, NY.