Your oral health affects your life in more ways than you might imagine. The foods and drinks we consume all have an impact on our oral health. And when you aren’t brushing and flossing regularly, the bacteria in your mouth can travel to other parts of your body and cause problems as a result.
Not only does it affect your overall health, but it also affects your mental health. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one-third of people in the country are unhappy with their teeth. How you feel about your outward appearance can have a big impact on how you feel about yourself, and can influence the state of your mental health. If you are unhappy with one part of your appearance, you are much more likely to start criticizing the rest.
For example, the American Dental Association reports that 70% of braces are used by females and that the braces are largely used to improve aesthetics rather than actual health problems. This means even those with relatively healthy teeth can still feel unconfident. While this may not seem like a big issue, it can be a problem for those experiencing discomfort in their appearance. If you find yourself stuck in a negative mind frame about your teeth or smile, here are a few suggestions to help you work past it.
Do What You Can to Remedy the Issue
If you don’t like your teeth, what can you do about it? There are some things you can control in this scenario. You must first identify what it actually is that you don’t like. This may also help you understand whether your teeth are actually the issue or if it’s how you think about yourself.
For instance, you can brush more often or buy teeth whitening strips if the discoloration is what bothers you. You can also ask your dentist about different reconstructive procedures or invest in braces or Invisalign to correct crooked teeth. Though the latter suggestions may be dependant on your financial status, consider all of the options available to you if it’s something that really matters. Regardless, for people of all ages, you should be getting regular checkups with your dentist every six months to ensure your oral health is in good shape.
Change How You Think
However, changing the way you think can make a big difference. Find the root cause of your discomfort. Are your teeth really that discolored or crooked? Or are you just being overly self-conscious? While it isn’t always easy to alter your thoughts, with enough discipline and practice, you can change the way you think about something.
Try to replace the thought of “I can’t smile or laugh around people because they’ll see my ugly teeth” to something more like, “My smile and laugh is contagious, and people can benefit from my joy.” When you replace the thoughts, eventually your brain will automatically connect with the replacement thought rather than the negative one. This is easier said than done, but over time, you might just start to change your way of thinking.
It’s important to understand what the root cause of your discomfort is and then go from there. Your mental health can be tricky to understand and even harder to maintain, and your oral health can play a role in that. Be sure to be mindful of how you care for your body — both your mouth and your mind.