The Surprising Relationship Between Mental Health And Your Smile

The Surprising Relationship Between Mental Health And Your Smile

Most people see a logical correlation between mental and physical health. For instance, anxiety can affect your appetite, which in turn affects your physical health. Similarly, a positive mindset has been shown to speed up the healing process after a long illness or an injury. 

But the connection between your teeth and your mental health might be a little more obscure. How do your oral health and emotional state belong together? Yet, while it might seem confusing, your smile and your mental health share a deep connection. So, if you are battling mental health issues, you want to make sure to book an appointment with your dentist too. Here’s why it matters: 

Mental health and eating disorders

Unfortunately, eating disorders are one of the most commonly spread mental health issues, affecting individuals of all genders and ages throughout their lives. The discomfort and low self-esteem regarding our bodies can lead to bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating, etc. More often than not, an unhealthy relationship with the body translates into unhealthy relationships with food. Therefore, building a healthy diet begins with making peace with food and enjoying the cooking process.  

Yet, what you may not realize is that eating disorders also affect dental health. Anorexia and bulimia can leave the body deprived of essential vitamins and minerals, which can weaken your teeth and aggravate tooth loss. Additionally, individuals who force themselves to vomit can damage the enamel through frequent exposure to stomach acid inside the mouth. 

Finally, binge eating is just as destructive, increasing the risk of cavities and inflammation. 

doughnuts

Does smiling cure depression?

Depression is a complex condition that requires professional support. However, research shows that the act of smiling can trick the brain into thinking that you are happy. When you smile, it stimulates the emotional centre of the brain, the amygdala. The amygdala releases neurotransmitters to boost the perceived positive emotional state. IN other words, when your muscles smile, your brain believes you are happy, and therefore release the feel-good hormones you need to “feel” happy. While smiling doesn’t cure mental health disorders, it can alleviate depressive moods. 

However, smiling implies that the individual is confident about their teeth. Stains, crooked teeth, or cavities can affect your self-esteem and make it difficult to physically smile. That’s why dental professionals such as Wahroonga Dental are dedicated to delivering dental care to boost the health and the happiness of their patients. 

Stress and dental health

Can stress damage your teeth? We all know that stress affects your sleep, your appetite, your energy levels. But why would it affect your teeth? High-stress levels can contribute to grinding your teeth, or bruxism as dentists call it. Bruxism can damage your teeth, as it can affect the enamel. In areas where the enamel is eroded, the tooth becomes more sensitive and can also get cavities. Additionally, constant pressure on the teeth can lead to tooth break or fissure if you already have fragile teeth. 

Bruxism can also put your jaw muscles and bones at risk, causing prolonged pain and difficult motions. It can make it uncomfortable to maintain good dental hygiene in the long term, such as opening the mouth wide enough to clean the teeth at the back. 

 

There is a strong connection between your mental health and your oral health. Your mental health can have dramatic consequences on your teeth. However, at the same time, poor teeth health can also hinder mental health improvements.

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