When it comes to a healthy body image, good mental health and being focused on what you are doing, an overwhelming majority of people admit the way their mouths look and feel has a big impact. After all, your mouth is a pretty important part of you. From eating and talking to kissing and cheering, your mouth is a bridge between your mind and body and the outside world. If you constantly are worrying about how your teeth and gums look, feel, function and smell, it can lead to poor mental health, daily distractions and greater struggles with work, relationships and more.
In a comprehensive survey, Listerine discovered that 85 percent of people think an unhealthy mouth is extremely embarrassing and that poor dental health impacted everything from their confidence level and meeting new people to giving a presentation or getting a job. More than 75 percent of the people surveyed also felt their mouths, healthy or not, significantly affected their quality of dating and relationships. It’s difficult to keep your mind sharp and pay attention to what’s going on around you when you are distracted by your teeth and gums. The healthier your mouth is, the less time you spend distracted and worrying about it. With a healthy smile, your mind then can focus on your relationships, your goals and everything else you want your life to be.
Quality dental health is vital to a healthy mouth and, therefore, it is a key part of your overall mental health and wellness. Dr. Jacob Taylor says, “People who practice good oral hygiene and visit their dentist regularly are more likely to think better of themselves and feel more positive about their direction in life. After all, it’s hard to feel confident and focused when you struggle with crooked teeth, discolored teeth, tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss.” Many people avoid smiling, talking to others, stepping up at work or meeting that special someone because they are embarrassed about how their mouth looks and feels.
Your mouth’s appearance isn’t the only detriment to your mental health. When you are dealing with tooth pain, swollen gums, or sores in your mouth, it can overshadow your entire day and limit how you feel about everything at work and at home. Your overall physical health also can benefit from regular dental visits. Your dentist also can detect other health issues in your body, such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and more, during exams.
“The good news is it’s never too late to start working on your dental health,” says Dr. Taylor. “Many dental patients find that once they get going on a treatment for their mouth, teeth and gum issues, their self-confidence soars and they are much more likely to experience positive feelings about themselves and their abilities. They are able to concentrate on the important things in their lives and be fully present, rather than distracted by their gums and teeth.”
Once you start down the path of proper dental hygiene, there’s plenty of incentive to keep up with it. When you are proud of your smile and you see and feel all the mental health benefits, you’ll take better care of your teeth and gums via flossing, brushing, mouthwash and regular checkups. The dentist also will help you stay on top of any conditions and help catch problems early, so you don’t have to spend time worrying about your dental health. Remember, if you’re self-conscious or in pain when it comes to your mouth, it’s not too late to visit the dentist and get some guidance on boosting your dental hygiene.
With all the evidence, it’s easy to see how dental health impacts not only your body’s health, but your mental health as well. No matter what age or stage of life you are in, higher self-confidence directly affects your mental health and your ability to focus. Take care of your teeth and gums, and you’ll be well on your way to a happier and healthier body and mind.