A Brighter Smile: How Dental Care Contributes to Overall Well-Being
Until relatively recently, dental hygiene was promoted as a tool for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. However, the impact of dental care goes far beyond this, as it directly impacts the well-being of the whole body. Therefore, daily brushing, flossing, and seeing a dentist can prevent disease and boost your emotional health.
In general, there’s a lack of knowledge about all these relationships, partly because many of them have been studied in recent times. Below, we’ll look at the most important connections between oral hygiene and wellness and why it’s essential to make basic care part of your daily routine.
The link between dental care and mental health
Often, the condition of the teeth and gums is an indicator of an underlying mental problem (stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and so on). Directly or indirectly, the well-being of the oral region can have an impact on a person’s emotional state.
For example, a single tooth dental implant doesn’t serve an exclusively functional purpose; it also has implications when it comes to self-esteem, self-confidence, and esthetics. Let’s look at some repercussions to assess the impact of neglecting hygiene on the psychological level.
Read also: Bruxism: Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
A lack of dental care affects self-esteem
According to a report by the American Dental Association (ADA), as many as 1 in 4 people avoid smiling because of the appearance of their teeth or gums. Furthermore, 1 in 5 develop anxiety for these reasons. As a result, complexes, withdrawal, and lack of confidence can develop and have a direct impact on self-esteem.
The impact on social ties
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that oral health affects the quality of social relationships. A person may avoid group activities because of problems such as bad breath, periodontitis, or missing teeth. Fear of being judged or compromised self-esteem may limit one’s ability to bond with others.
It contributes to the appearance of disorders
Although the relationship is still under investigation, and as pointed out by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), there seems to be a connection between certain oral diseases and dementia.
It’s for this reason that the same entity recommends that people with a family history of dementia maintain proper dental hygiene and replace missing teeth with implants or dentures.
The relationship between dental care and overall health
Along the same lines, the care of the teeth and gums also has an impact on the overall health of the body. We’ll summarize some interesting connections below:
Proper dental care promotes healthy digestion
Poor oral health can lead to chewing problems, difficulty in carrying out proper digestion, and stomach problems. Missing teeth, inflammation, and other problems can hinder the first stage of food breakdown as well as limit the amount of nutrients ingested during the day.
Helps prevent disease
There are dozens of diseases related to dental hygiene. An uncontrolled bacterial population in the mouth can contribute to conditions such as pneumonia, stroke, endocarditis, and even complications during childbirth and pregnancy.
Contributes to the management of chronic diseases
Related to the above, good oral hygiene helps prevent or control chronic diseases. People who have been diagnosed with certain conditions or who have them in their family history should pay special attention to the care of their teeth and gums. This is especially important in the case of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Don’t go without reading: Teeth Grinding: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
The importance of dental care for overall wellness
Nowadays, health is understood not as the mere absence of disease but as a balance between physical, mental, and social well-being. Above, we’ve analyzed how careless dental hygiene can have an impact on all these aspects, or in other words, it can compromise overall well-being.
Fortunately, ensuring proper dental hygiene isn’t complicated, as it starts with daily brushing, mouthwashes, dental floss, and regular visits to the dentist. If you want to take care of your health, then start by paying attention to how you take care of your teeth and gums.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- American Psychiatric Associatio. (19 de septiembre de 2023). How Dental Health and Mental Health Are Connected. https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/apa-blogs/how-dental-health-and-mental-health-are-connected
- American Dental Association. (s. f.). Oral Health and Well-Being in the United States. Consultado el 24 de enero de 2024. https://www.ada.org/resources/research/health-policy-institute/coverage-access-outcomes/oral-health-and-well-being
- Fiorillo L. (2019). Oral Health: The First Step to Well-Being. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 55(10), 676. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6843908/
- Samaranayake L. (2022). Oral Health, Happiness, and Well-being. International Dental Journal, 72(2), 149. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9275208/
- World Health Organization. (s. f.). Oral health. Consultado el 24 de enero de 2024. https://www.who.int/health-topics/oral-health#tab=tab_1