Mental health affects every part of the body, as the mind can affect the way we eat and the kind of activities that we do. So it’s no surprise that those with mental health issues could suffer from bad dental health too. In many cases, people suffering from mental health illnesses face several issues that affect their oral health. These include the following:
Some people who experience high levels of anxiety in stressful situations can develop trauma, and as a result, refuse to undergo similar experiences. A painful time under a dentist’s chair can make someone refuse or avoid all dental procedures. People who don’t visit their dentiston a regular basis can develop serious oral health conditions.
Anyone who suffers from a mental health illness does not generally care about their health. They may not care to visit the doctor, much more than go to see their dentist for a check-up. They may prefer to stay home and isolate themselves, and doing so for a prolonged period could lead to serious teeth and gum problems.
Certain types of medication taken for a mental health issue can produce several oral effects, such as dryness and low saliva production. All of these can increase bacteria growth and acidity in the mouth. Add to this the neglect and anxiety, and then it’s no surprise that their dental health is not the best.
If someone is using alcohol, nicotine, or other addictive substances to overcome anxiety or psychological issues, it could affect their dental health too. Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol could affect teeth’s enamel and color. They could stain teeth and even destroy the protective enamel.
Serious Psychiatric Illnesses
Those who suffer from severe mental issues could suffer more dental health problems because their anxiety and neglect could lead to poor nutrition and hygiene. If a person is suffering from substance abuse, they might consume too much alcohol or sweet drinks. Combine this with neglect and lack of proper hygiene, and the result is that their dental health is compromised.
These could lead to gingivitis or even lead to serious eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia. These diseases have other effects on dental health, especially bulimia. The constant vomiting action expels stomach acid, which can damage teeth and their enamel. These could lead to periodontitis and cavities. If ignored, the result is tooth loss, and not just only one. Many people suffering from some form of mental illness or addiction lose more than one tooth when they are trying to overcome their disease.
So if you think that your mental health does not affect your dental health, think again. When someone in your family or group of friends is suffering from a mental health issue, it’s best to recommend a visit to a therapist. Once they have done so, give them the support they need. Remind them to observe proper hygiene, join them in a regular activity, and be there to listen. So much depends on our mental state that it should always be the first thing people should consider when they say “health is wealth,” and the way to achieve it is to help each other.