Smile! The Connection Between Oral Health & Self-Esteem
Our mouths do a lot for us: They help us talk about our favorite movies, laugh until we cry, and of course smile for all those Instagram photos. However, the condition of your mouth can also have a big impact on the way you feel about yourself. Feeling self-conscious because you think your teeth are too big, too small, too stained, or too crooked can often hold you back from enjoying those little moments in life.
Gaining back your self-esteem is essential to living a happy, healthier life. While oftentimes that’s easier said than done, you can take control of certain insecurities and find ways to feel more confident.
Self-Care: Pay Your Dentist a Visit
Self-care is an important part of feeling confident. As hectic as life can get, making the time for yourself means you’ve made yourself a priority, and by making yourself a priority you earn a better understanding of your worth. Just like you would diligently care for a prized possession or your pet, taking care of your body, mind, and soul is key to living a healthier life.
Self-care isn’t all bubble baths and face masks (although that is pretty amazing). Self-care also involves doing those annoying “adult” things like scheduling yourself a cleaning at your dentist. While many of us dread going to the dentist, getting preventative dental cleanings (twice a year) is vital to taking care of your teeth and in turn nurturing your self-esteem. Moreover, prophylaxis has several benefits for your overall oral health:
- Plaque removal
- Fresher breath
- Early detection (decay, puffiness, and bleeding)
- A healthier, happier smile
It can also be painful if certain oral issues aren’t resolved, liked cavities or sensitivities. Moreover, if left untreated, you can end up losing teeth. With all of that in mind, it can be hard enjoying dinner with friends or even public speaking if your mouth is causing you pain, discomfort, or making you feel self-conscious. Most health insurance plans cover dental work, as long as it’s medically necessary, so take the easier step to ensure everything is healthy and ready to enjoy your next bowl of ice cream.
Breaking Old Habits
While getting professional help with your oral health is always a good idea, there are also other habits you can practice in your day-to-day that will aid your overall oral health. Surprisingly, a lot of our oral habits handed down to us through our parents and 7th-grade health class are, blatantly put, wrong.
As Fashion Beans explains, “The technique you were taught as a child needs an update. When you eat, the sugars in your food weaken tooth enamel. Brush straight away and you strip away this protective layer.” They also further explain that you might want to consider skipping the mouthwash. Antiseptic mouthwashes can kill the good bacteria in your mouth, up your risk for heart attack, and wash away that defensive layer toothpaste gives your teeth. Finding simple ways to boost your oral health and in turn, self-esteem can help keep you healthy and confident.
Self-esteem can seem like a never-ending battle — some days we win, but it can still be mentally draining dealing with certain insecurities every day. There is a particular feeling connected to our mouths. They are often a focal point throughout the day, from eating to kissing to sharing your latest accomplishment with friends and family.
While a quick fix isn’t always possible for our mouths, we can enlist some good practices to lend our pearly whites a hand. Of course, if your teeth are a main source of your self-consciousness, it’d be worth looking into more extensive solutions like braces, dental bridges, implants, etc. in order to help gain back your self-esteem. However, you decide to tackle your oral health, feeling happy and confident that it is worth taking those extra steps. Good luck!
About the Author
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.