If there is one area of health that has been underserved in our country, it’s our mental health. With so many people living with conditions that have dramatic effects on their overall health, it’s a tragedy that it’s so poorly understood by the public at large. Even less well understood are the ways that mental health can have an impact on our overall health, including our oral health. An ever-growing number of studies are exploring the ancillary effects of mental health concerns, and below we’ll touch on some of the findings regarding oral health.
The Discovered Link Between Oral Health and Mental Health Concerns
One study that can be found exploring this connection was published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers collected information covering those with and without mental health concerns and sifted through them for connections. What was found is that those suffering from depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder present with a greater tendency towards oral health concerns, including damaged teeth and bleeding gums. This is often due to neglect and avoidance of dental health care resulting from their mental health condition. Dentists should work to connect with patients with mental health disorders and work with them to ensure they get the care they need.
Dentists Continue To Work Towards Solutions
The exploration of oral and mental health connections continues, and dentists continue to work to find ways to meet the needs of patients affected by these concerns. Some steps that have been found to be effective can be found below:
- Improved Communications – Speaking with your dentist about the issues you face is important. A good dentist will listen attentively and provide options.
- Incorporating Relaxation Techniques – Your dentist can work to provide a more relaxing environment while you can look into techniques that help calm you when under stress.
- Practice Informed Awareness – Patients and dentists alike should work together to ensure that the needs of the patient and the services provided by the dentist are fully understood by both.
As time goes on, we hope to see the stigma surrounding mental health concerns begin to fade. Until then, our team focuses on finding solutions for our patients that experience concerns related to mental health. Be certain to facilitate communication between your health providers, as your mental health provider and dental provider may be able to coordinate to find solutions that make providing good health care easier for everyone. Don’t let concerns with mental health have a deleterious effect on your smile and lifelong oral health. Start working with your providers today to establish dental health routines that will sustain your smile for a lifetime. Call your dental healthcare specialist to schedule a consultation to cover the concerns you face and start working to find a solution for your oral health.