No matter how strong your personality and mental health, it can all be done in by having bad teeth. People are beginning to realize that their dental health is linked to their overall health, but some don’t realize that there is also a strong link with mental health.
When you take a holistic approach to your health, it means everything from your physical well being, to your teeth and yes, even your mental health. When any one of those three factors is not doing well, then it can have a dramatic affect on the others, too.
In this article, we will go over several of the ways that your mental health can be damaged by having poor dental health and what you can do about it.
Low self esteem
The most obvious effect is how your esteem is impacted when you have bad teeth. Even when the tooth in question is not visible to others, it can still have an effect on how you feel about yourself.
But, when your smile is ugle due to rotten or broken front teeth, then you can easily slip from low self esteem into a full blown depression.
It affects so many parts of your life. If you have a client facing job, then you are in danger of losing it. If you do end up losing your job then the likelihood of getting those teeth fixed lowers dramatically as you can’t afford it when you’re unemployed.
It is hard to keep friends when you have a bad smile as they may feel uncomfortable going out with you with your teeth like that. And a romantic relationship will likely not be pursued as you won’t have the confidence to go ahead with your teeth in bad shape.
Getting your teeth fixed at this point is essential before it leads to worse mental problems that will take more of an effort to fix. Smile Makeovers Before and After pictures can show you exactly what an impact a smile can have on your self esteem.
When you go beyond low self esteem and a lack of confidence, you begin to enter into depression territory.
The longer it takes to have your teeth fixed, the harder it will be to rebound from the mental effects your dental health has caused. As I mentioned in the last section, your esteem can be affected by things like difficulty maintaining friendships or a job loss.
When your relationships suffer, you end up feeling isolated. And this isolation can end up causing feelings of depression. Then, like a domino falling, it ends up negatively impacting other areas in your life. And even your physical health since depression can lead to things like diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions.
Memory loss and dementia
On the extreme end of the spectrum, tooth decay can lead to physical changes in the brain. This can happen when the bacteria from an infected tooth makes its way into the bloodstream. And this can cause inflammation in places like the brain when there is too much bacteria in the blood from the tooth.
This inflammation can end up damaging the neurons which then leads to memory loss. In extreme cases, it can even lead to dementia.
Now, this is not likely to happen to many people and more studies are needed to show a more direct link than what we understand at this point. But, signs point towards a deterioration of mental capacity when there are unchecked infections in the body.
How mental health affects teeth
The flip side of the coin is how people with mental health issues can also end up with poor dental health. Tooth decay is very common in people with mental health disorders that even include depression.
A depressed person may be less inclined to take an interest in their physical well being and stop doing things like brushing and flossing teeth.
Conditions like anorexia and bulimia will also lead to tooth decay as the body is not getting the nutrients it needs for good dental health. Addictions to alcohol and drugs also take a toll on the teeth as the chemicals can cause severe tooth decay as well as the general lack of oral hygiene.
What you can do
When the first signs of tooth decay become apparent, get to the dentist to prevent the situation from getting worse. If your teeth are already causing problems then seek out the best dentist you can afford to give you an evaluation on your options.
If you can’t afford a dentist, look into dental schools in your area that may be able to treat you at a low price.