Mental Health And Dental Care: What You Need To Know

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When you suffer from depression and/or an anxiety disorder, you may not realize the extent of the effect on your entire being. Depression and anxiety do not just affect your mental state and mood, they also can and often do wreak havoc on your body.  One area of the body most people do not associate with depression and anxiety is the mouth. However dentists have seen a rise in dental issues in patients who also suffer from such mental conditions.  If you are suffering from a depressive or anxiety disorder, you need to try to take special care to keep an eye on your oral health. Here is what you should know about the connection between your mental health and your oral health.

Anxiety and Your Dental Appointments

When you suffer from an anxiety disorder, it can be difficult for you to force yourself to even leave your bed some mornings, let alone your house. And, if you are anything like most people, when you do leave your house, your idea of a good time is not necessarily a trip to the dentist.

However, you need to do everything in your power to get to the dentist for your twice annual cleaning appointment. When you have an anxiety disorder, it is not as easy as just telling yourself to do something.

First, you need to discuss the issue with your therapist or counselor. Develop a plan and a set of coping mechanisms to help you get to the dentist. After all, if you do not figure out a way to get yourself into that dentist's office you could suffer from periodontal disease, tooth loss, and bone loss. If this occurs, you could then be looking at the need for extensive treatments and surgeries including skin grafts, bone grafts, and dental implants to replace those missing teeth.

You should also recruit a friend, family member, or spouse to drive you to your appointment. If you find yourself accountable to another person, you are more likely to follow through and go to the dentist. Additionally, when you do go, you will have a moral support system there with you to help manage your anxiety.You can also bring the subject of dental appointments up in your counseling sessions with a therapist. They can give you good coping strategies to help you deal with trips to the dentist's office.

Depression and Your Dental Care

When you also suffer from depression, your dental care can also suffer. Depression, particularly severe depression, can make you extremely lethargic. You tend to lose interest in self-maintenance and care at times.

This includes your dental care. Taking care of your teeth through daily brushing and flossing is your best defense against dental decay, plaque, and gum disease. However, when you are depressed it can be difficult to muster up the energy and effort to take care of your teeth.

Additionally, some of your medications for depression may also cause oral health issues. Certain anti-depressants can cause dry mouth, infections, and even tooth grinding. If you begin to notice problems such as these after starting a new anti-depressant medication, talk to both your dentist and your prescribing mental health physician about a possible change in medication.

When you suffer from depression and anxiety, your oral health can suffer. However, severe dental and periodontal infections can occur if you do not take proper care of your teeth and gums. Talk to your counselor or therapist about ways that you can maintain your dental health, at places like Park Center Inc, as you learn to deal with your depression and anxiety.