Have your teeth and gums been giving you trouble? Are you feeling down and you aren’t sure why? It might surprise you to learn that there may be an association between depression and periodontal disease. On the other hand, a simple smile will help boost your mood more than you might realize. Unfortunately, the people least likely to smile are those who suffer from gum disease. Read on to learn about the mood-boosting benefits of a smile, the connection between depression and gum disease, and the steps you can take to achieve a confident smile.
Humans are the only species where smiling actually makes you feel better,even when you may not feel like smiling in the first place. Research suggests that emotional facial expressions like smiling impacts one’s overall emotional experience. A smile — even a fake one — releases mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Moreover, individuals who smile more frequently while under stress enjoy lower stress levels than those who maintain neutral expressions while engaged in difficult tasks. This is true even if you do not feel like smiling. Fake it till you make it!
However, people who feel insecure about their oral health are less likely to want to sport a beaming grin. Many people are self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth, especially if they have missing teeth due to complications from periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a gum infection caused by bacterial plaque that attacks the tissue and bone structures supporting and stabilizing the teeth. Left untreated, the disease causes the gums to become inflamed and puffy and recede from the teeth, and it ultimately leads to tooth loss. Understandably, individuals with receded and swollen gums or tooth loss due to periodontal disease simply may not feel like smiling.
Additionally, evidence suggests that the connection between periodontal disease and poor mental health is a vicious cycle. For an individual with depression, the body’s ability to fight off inflammation decreases. Such a person may also experience a lack of motivation to maintain healthy habits, including oral health regimens at home. Worse, some people avoid seeking professional treatment for gum disease once it has set in due to anxiety and self-consciousness. I understand these anxieties because I have experienced them myself!
Fortunately, the solution to achieving a healthy mouth, and a better mental state, is simpler than you might think. The best way to prevent gum disease is to visit an oral health professional regularly. But even if you have avoided the dentist like the plague and are now experiencing oral health issues, coming into the office for an evaluation is the best step you can take. We will assess your oral health, diagnose any issues, and get you started on the path to achieving a confident, healthy smile. Not only will your smile look better, but you will feel better too.
Have questions? Give us a call at (919) 518-8222.