I know a lot of you will turn up your faces at this topic, and say that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and that I am truly crazy, but truth be told, poor oral health and mental illness are related and there’s a connection. After all, I am living proof of that.
I am thirty-eight (38) years old and I do not have all my teeth in my month, six have dropped out without even realizing that I had a condition, because I taught that it was because my gut was hurting me and they had gotten weak and yes two had cavity. After been diagnosed, I have feverishly tried to take better care of myself and my health, which I have more bad days, than good days and even been thou the ugly ones, but I am hanging in there and moving forward. Yet, I have never been to a dentist, I try to take care of the problem myself and usually it has worked out well, just go to the drug store and purchase lots of stuffs which deals with keeping the rest of my teeth clean, gum and tongue okay and my breath simply fine, if I have to talk to someone.
Yes, I do believe that there’s a cyclical relationship exists between oral health and mental health. Good oral health can enhance mental and overall health, while poor oral health can exacerbate mental issues–and mental conditions can likewise cause oral health issues. We all know that both the mind and body have a serious relationship. Any problem with the mind reflects on the body and any problem with the body can have an effect on mental health.
This relationship between overall health and mental health is a cyclical one; patients with mental health issues are less likely to take proper care of their physical health. Neglected physical health impairs emotional and mental health, in turn, as the body becomes deprived of the nutrition, activity, and healthy habits that yield good mental health. Furthermore, poor physical health is harmful to self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth–all of which greatly impair mental wellness.
Scientific research has found that the people with mental illnesses tend to have bad oral health. Adults suffering from serious mental illnesses are more likely to have poor oral health. The research also goes on to state further that persons found to be suffering a mental illness also suffer from oral issues like gross caries, periodontal disease, decayed teeth, dry mouth and even from other diseases like obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
Poor Mental Health → Poor Dental Health
Though research on the connection between oral health and mental health is relatively new and limited, studies have suggested numerous effects that mental health issues have on oral wellness, including:
Schizophrenia and oral health: Research shows that patients with schizophrenia and related mental health issues tend to have poor oral hygiene. They are more likely to neglect oral health.
Eating disorders: Ailments like Bulimia can lead to enamel erosion while others like anorexia are linked to a reduction in calcium levels.
Bipolar and related disorders: People with such issues tend to brush too vigorously and may damage their tooth enamel. This can also cause self-neglect, which may damage gums and cause dental abrasion, mucosal lacerations, or gingival lacerations. Bipolar patients treated with lithium have a higher rate of xerostomia and stomatitis.
Depression: Patients suffering from depression or related disorders are more likely to have poor oral health due to negligence, which is associated with higher abuse of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, and often times results in poor oral hygiene and consequential tooth decay.
Substance-related problems: Medications can lead to problems like dry mouth or xerostomia and severe decay which is a result of decreased salivary flow.
Poor dental health affects speech, which can cause significant social anxiety. Likewise, bad breath can exacerbate social anxiety. As well as persons who has lost most of the teeth, it can also affect one’s physical appearance, especially when one smile, self-esteem and self image.
After all of this, you know that I am going to have to summing up the courage to go see my dentist, and I might have to go get a loan and think about cosmetic dentistry, to get back all my teeth.