There is a two-way association between oral and mental health.
In one direction, the prospect of dental treatment can lead to anxiety and phobia. In the other, many psychiatric disorders, such as severe mental illness, affective disorders, and eating disorders, are associated with dental disease. These include dental erosion, tooth fracture, dental decay, and gum disease. Left untreated, dental diseases can lead to tooth loss so much so that people with severe mental illness have 2 and a half times the likelihood of losing all their teeth, compared with the general population.
It is important to be aware of the link between oral health and mental health. Those people suffering with mental health issues should understand the value of good oral health and be motivated to maintain good dental habits.
Key messages on World Mental Health Day:
- Brush twice daily a fluoride toothpaste with over 1450ppm Fluoride [age+2].
- Reduce the amount and how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
- Visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. Make your illness known to your dentist. Your dentist can also help you understand the harmful effects that smoking and alcohol have on both your oral and general health.
- If caring for someone with a mental illness you can help encourage a healthier lifestyle, support them in a positive daily routine and make them feel more comfortable accessing dental care.
- Why it’s good to smile. … Smiling, laughing, and positive thinking has been shown to have a huge number of health benefits to both mind and body.