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The Link Between Oral Health and Mental Health

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The belief that you should visit your dentist twice a year for an exam and cleaning is fairly universal these days. This and people’s obsession with having an attractive appearance are partly why the health and beauty sector is a multi billion dollar a year industry.

While the idea of what is beautiful is subjective, the view that a great smile is an attractive trait can arguably be considered universal.

For these reasons people have become more aware of the condition of their teeth and their dental health. According to dentists at Valley Ridge Dental Centre and dental offices throughout North America, having a great smile with straight teeth is not only important for a patient’s physical health but for their mental health as well. Here are some of the ways having straight pearly white teeth can help your mental and physical health.

Healthy gums and teeth affect your well-being

It can be hard to feel good about yourself when your gums and teeth have issues. Medical professionals have begun pointing to a link between periodontal disease and the ailments it can lead to and a patient’s mental health.

Brushing properly, getting regular check-ups and straightening teeth all help prevent ailments that cause bad breath, discoloured or lost teeth and lead to difficulty speaking or eating.

These can all be reasons people may not want to be around you or you may think this is the case which definitely can lower the way you feel about yourself. This disease is also linked to many worse ailments that can affect your mental well-being in other ways. Taking care of your gums and keeping your smile looking great are the best way to keep these problems away.

You need to look after your overall health

Tooth decay and gum disease are the results of untreated decay in the mouth. By not taking care of your teeth you can also develop sores in the mouth, have bleeding gums and have a higher risk of developing a bacterial infection.

Mental health issues like depression, schizophrenia, anorexia and substance abuse have all been linked to tooth decay and gum disease. Conversely, crooked teeth can place added stress on the gums and the bones holding the teeth in place which can lead to chronic headaches and neck pain. All of these ailments have been linked to the way you feel about yourself.

Healthy teeth can boost your confidence and self-esteem

Research by the American Dental Association (ADA) has shown that almost 30% of children don’t smile and almost 10% of children withdraw from socialising with other children because of their smile.

Research has also shown that over the long term having a good smile can improve your perception at work, benefit your social and romantic life and lead to more general happiness.

Smiling also requires using more face muscles which improves the elasticity of the skin. This makes you look younger, which can make you feel more attractive.


Because of the harmful consequences bad teeth can have on mental health, it makes sense why people are willing to spend as much money as they can to maintain good oral health. Take dentist’s advice to heart and get regular cleanings and check-ups.

Following a healthy routine of brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash after meals not only reduces your risk of developing certain health issues but will make you feel better about yourself. You’ll have more confidence, and look more attractive to the opposite sex.

These positive outcomes always weigh out bad brushing habits. Consider breaking yours today and call your local dentist for a check-up.


Image credit: Freepik

Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of  Edinburgh.

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