You may have heard the phrase ‘mind-body connection’ during your workout class or at your doctor’s office, but have you ever wondered if there’s a connection between your mouth and your mind? The truth is, studies have shown that there are several fascinating links between the state of your oral health and your brain. Here are just a few:
1. Stress and anxiety
Your mouth and stress are very interconnected! Stress directly weakens your immune system. While under stress, inflammation increases, allowing oral bacteria to progress. Likewise, inflammation associated with gum disease may make you feel more stressed and anxious than you would with healthy gums.
2. Cognitive health
Data show that gum disease is linked with cognitive decline. Inflammation associated with gum disease and tooth decay can impact your brain as your brain is vulnerable to low-level, chronic inflammation. Over time, gum disease can damage brain cells and slow down your cognition, making your teeth a contributor to your long-term brain health.
3. Mental illness and number of teeth
A study conducted on the connection between mental illness and dental problems found that patients with mental illnesses are 2.8 times more likely to lose all of their teeth. While mental health problems do not cause you to lose your teeth—this study does show that mental health issues and dental health are connected. The same study reported that patients with mental illness have higher rates of tooth decay. Fortunately, it’s never too late to take excellent care of your smile. No matter your current oral health, Bowen Legacy Dental can provide preventative care and treat any problems with decay or tooth loss you may already be experiencing.
Your smile also impacts your confidence! Another study concluded that dental problems such as malocclusion (a bad bite), tooth decay, and tooth loss had a “profound” disturbance on the average young adult’s self-confidence. Not only were those with poor oral health reported to be less social, but they reported feeling lower self-esteem regarding their appearance overall. Fortunately, if you don’t love your smile, we have options to help you feel more confident—from Invisalign®, whitening, and veneers to implants and crowns.
5. Mental health and airways
Although some of these statistics may seem disheartening, no matter where you are in your dental health journey, we can help you feel your best! Some issues related to mental health can also indicate an airway problem. For instance, poor sleep can cause symptoms like depression, fatigue, and hormonal imbalance. At Bowen Legacy Dental, we provide treatments like airway and sleep therapy to help improve your breathing, making sleep more restful and improving your quality of life. Getting proper sleep can be a factor that improves your physical and mental wellness overall.
Looking for more information, or want to book your next appointment? Call Bowen Legacy Dental at 614-459-2300 today!