Few things are more important than your patients’ mental wellbeing, but chances are very few of them have stopped to consider the link between their oral health and their mental health.
For Mental Health Month this May, understand the relationship between your patients' mental health and their oral health and use resources from Delta Dental to help them make the important mind-mouth connection.
Mental health and oral health are interconnected, and each one has a significant impact on the other. Some of the ways mental health and oral health are connected include:
Most dentists are not trained mental health professionals, but they nonetheless play an important role in identifying signs and symptoms of mental issues. Some signs and symptoms to look out for during an exam include:
Discussing mental health can be a delicate topic, so it’s important to approach the subject with sensitivity. Here are some tips for approaching the subject while reducing stigma and providing support:
Maintaining oral health is crucial for overall well-being, and conversely, managing mental health issues can help prevent oral health problems. Here are some resources for your patients that can help answer your patients’ concerns, reminding them of the important link between the state of their mouth and the state of their mind. Delta Dental’s Wellness library has easy-to-understand articles to help make the important connection between oral health and overall wellbeing.
Approach patients with empathy and understanding. As a dental health provider, you can give support, share resources or refer them to a mental health professional. Dentists can often be among the first health care professionals to identify mental health issues in their patients. Initiating difficult conversations, listening empathetically and sharing information can all have a significant impact on a patient’s overall wellbeing.