If you suffer from depression, anxiety or another mental health issue, it is important to be aware of the fact that this psychological problem may have a negative impact on your dental health and to do what you can to minimise this impact. Continue reading to find out more about the ways in which mental health issues can affect your teeth and gums.
It can make it harder for you to be consistent with your oral hygiene
It is extremely common for people to neglect their oral hygiene when they are going through a particularly bad bout of depression or anxiety. If you are severely depressed, for example, you may feel that there is no point in doing anything at all, including taking care of your teeth and gums. Additionally, you may find yourself consuming more sugar-laden comfort food than you usually do; this type of sugary food, coupled with your lack of oral hygiene, may increase your risk of developing enamel erosion, oral infections and cavities.
Similarly, if you are suffering from severe anxiety, you may find yourself so distracted and distressed by your overwhelming worries that you simply forget to brush and floss each day. This, too, could increase your chances of experiencing dental health problems.
If you regularly experience bouts of poor mental health, then it's worth taking action to minimise the impact these difficult periods have on the health of your teeth and gums. For example, if you have anxiety issues, you may want to put a reminder note in your phone, which will help you to remember to go and brush your teeth when you're going through a bout of bad anxiety.
Likewise, during depressive episodes, it may be worth asking a loved one who lives with you to encourage you to floss and brush each day. Additionally, you may want to stockpile a collection of low-sugar snacks that you can consume when you want some comfort food.
It can make the prospect of attending dental appointments very frightening
There are two reasons why people with mental health problems often find the thought of visiting their dentist to be very frightening. The first is that their psychological issues may make it harder for them to socialise and be in busy environments. The second is that their mental health problems may, as explained above, have led to them not taking good care of their teeth and gums. If this is the case for you, you might feel concerned that your dentist will chastise you for your poor oral hygiene.
However, in this type of situation, it is extremely important to discuss your worries with a dentist.
Most dentists will have had at least a few patients with similar issues and will be able to provide you with the reassurance you need to book your appointment. They may also be able to arrange to see you earlier or later in the day when the clinic is less noisy and busy.