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The health of your mouth and mind are more connected that you may realize. It’s possible that your mental health has even changed how you take care of your oral health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 45% of U.S. adults have said COVID-19-related worry and stress is negatively impacting their mental health.1
Practicing good daily oral health habits is always important, but your routine may require some extra attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Take time during Mental Health Awareness Month to evaluate your current mental and oral health so you can protect your smile and well-being.
Stress and Oral Health
It’s natural to feel stressed, especially during a global pandemic. However, when it begins to disrupt your normal routines, pay attention. When an excess amount of the stress hormone cortisol is found in the mouth, you’re more susceptible to chronic diseases, including gum disease.2 It’s also been proven to contribute to:
Mental Illness and Oral Health
Mental illnesses impact your mood, thoughts and behaviors. A diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness can cause a lack of motivation, including in caring for your oral and overall health and well-being.
Depression and anxiety are commonly associated with several oral health issues, including gum disease, tooth decay and teeth grinding. Consistent teeth grinding caused by stress and anxiety can lead to damaged teeth and even tooth loss in severe cases.3 People with a severe mental illness are also more likely to have periodontal disease.4
Take Care of the Basics
When managing a mental illness, caring for your oral health may seem more difficult. You can protect your mental and oral health by taking the following steps:
When you’re facing mental and oral health issues, there’s help to be found. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist, physician and/or a mental health professional to get the care you need.
You can make a difference in your well-being. Diet, sleep and exercise routines are associated with improved physical and mental health.6 Follow a positive, manageable daily schedule, so you can keep your oral and overall health on track.
6Haines, J., McDonald, J., O’Brien, A., Sherry, B., Bottino, C., Scmidt, M.E., Taveras, E.M. (2013) Healthy habits, happy homes: randomized trial to improve household routines among pre-school-aged children. JAMA Pediatrics, 167,1072-1090.
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* All TruAssure dental plans, other than Basic and Preferred dental plans, are offered in association with the DenteMax Plus dental network arrangement, which includes participating dentists from the DenteMax, United Concordia and Connection dental networks. TruAssure Basic and Preferred dental plans for both group and individual members are offered in association with the DenteMax dental network.
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