The connection between oral health and mental health is hard to ignore. Not only can a bright smile boost your confidence, but a healthy and pain-free mouth also lowers your risk for serious illnesses that can be avoided with good dental hygiene. Getting into a healthy oral care routine can sometimes be challenging, but taking small steps toward basic dental habits can save you from health issues down the line.
How to Achieve a Healthy Mind, Body & Mouth
Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications
What Is Oral Health?
Routine oral care is vital to a healthy lifestyle. By brushing your teeth twice a day and interdental cleaning daily, you can prevent issues before they become costly emergencies. In addition to daily habits, regular checkups with dental professionals can protect you from issues like:
- Painful swelling
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
- Gum disease
- Dry mouth
- Canker sores
- Enamel erosion
- Oral cancer
Simple Ways to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
Outside of brushing your teeth twice a day and interdental cleaning, diet is just as important. Rinse your mouth with water after consuming something sugary or high in acid. Regular exercise, counseling, restful sleep, and meditation can help you reduce stress and help you live a healthier life overall.
Other simple tips include:
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat healthy foods
- Limit sugary drinks and snacks
- Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
- Chew sugarless gum
- Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum
How Oral Health Impacts Overall Health
Did you know your oral hygiene can affect your overall health? Harmful bacteria can enter your bloodstream through sores and inflammation in your mouth - weakening your immune system, which can lead to severe health issues.
Research shows that people with gum disease have a higher risk of heart disease than someone with healthy gums. Other health problems linked to poor oral hygiene include:
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Pregnancy complications
- Chronic inflammation
How Does Oral Health Affect Mental Health?
People living with mental health conditions face a number of challenges that can negatively impact their oral health and, in turn, their overall health. Stress, anxiety, depression, and psychiatric comorbidities can cause individuals to skip their oral care routines, develop unhealthy eating habits and substance abuse.
Anti-depressants and mood-stabilizing medications can cause side effects related to dry mouth, negatively impacting oral health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, don't delay seeking the support of a medical professional. No matter the challenges you face in your life, there are people who want to help and see you succeed. Even small steps toward a healthy lifestyle are huge wins. By investing in your oral health today, you can make a positive difference in your mental and overall health.
Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider.