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The Links Between Mental and Oral Health

The Links Between Mental and Oral Health

There is a strong link between mental and physical health, and people suffering from mental health issues often find that their oral health suffers, too. With Mental Health Awareness week running from the 9 - 15th May, we at Sonisk thought it was important to spread awareness of what potential issues poor mental health can cause in the mouth, as well as tips on how to reduce these effects.


Neglect

Neglect is something that is often seen with sufferers of depression. Reduced motivation and low mood can cause people to reduce or altogether stop self-care, including general physical hygiene and maintenance of good oral health routines. Another aspect of self-neglect is letting a healthy diet slide: sometimes the effort of cooking feels insurmountable, and at these times sugary snacks are easier and more readily available to consume. However, snacking often means adding lots of sugars into the mouth, which can worsen plaque and tartar.


Eating Disorders

People who suffer from eating disorders or disordered eating tend to suffer from various oral health problems. The reduction of food entering the system can lessen all-important minerals, such as calcium, from being absorbed at the optimal rate, which in turn can causes brittle teeth. People suffering from bulimia also often suffer from dental erosion as a result of the acids in vomit.


Anxiety

Anxiety comes in many different forms, and one of these is fear of visiting the dentist. This can stop people from attending regular dentist visits, but also from seeing a dentist when there is an active problem in the mouth. 


Medication Side-Effects

A common side-effect for medications used to help ease mental health issues is dry mouth, which lessens saliva production. The reduction of saliva makes it harder for your mouth to fight off the bacteria which causes plaque and erosion, which can lead to the formation of cavities and oral diseases. 


What To Do If This Is You


First and most important, know that you are not alone. If the above issues are affecting you, take a deep breath and try the following:


  1. Do what you can to maintain your routine, and reward yourself for it. If you manage to brush and floss twice a day as recommended, you have already done an amazing job. Now reward yourself with something small but meaningful for your efforts, such as taking a guilt-free nap, or treating yourself to a sonic toothbrush.

  1. Reduce your sugar intake. This is a small step that can make huge changes for both your teeth and overall body. If you are struggling with other aspects of self-care, tackle this first and you’ll find you’re already on your way to better mental and physical health.

  1. Reach out. Whether you’re more comfortable with a mental health professional or a close friend, do your best to speak to others about these problems, as the best solutions often come from outside sources.

Click here to read more about Mental Health Awareness week.

Alcohol and Your Oral Health

Alcohol and Your Oral Health

The odd beverage here or there won’t cause too much lasting damage to your body, but it’s important to be aware of the ways in which alcohol affects your oral health - if only so that you can make wiser choices and mitigate the ill-effects! Keep reading to discover the issues that alcohol can cause in your mouth, and our top tips for reducing these so that you can continue to live your best sociable life…


Sneaky Sugars

Even if your drink of choice doesn’t taste noticeably sweet, it contains more sugar than you might realise! Alcohols made from fruit, such as wine or cider, or with carbonation, such as beer, contain a lot of sugar. Sugars promote bacteria and acid to collect in the mouth, reducing the strength of your surface enamel and causing long-term damage such as tooth decay. This is only exacerbated by spirits that are mixed with soft drinks - rum and coke, for instance, contains around 21 grams of sugar, which is equal to around four teaspoons! 


Active Acidity

Wines and spirits also contain high levels of acid, which also cause erosion of tooth enamel, as well as creating the perfect environment for bacteria to penetrate the surface of your teeth and cause cavities and heightened sensitivity. 


Desert Dryness

High alcohol content has also been shown to dry out the mouth, and reduce saliva production. Saliva is very important to oral health as it helps to wash bacteria, acid, and sugars off from the surface of your teeth. However, lowered saliva production allows these harmful components to cling to your teeth and gums and causes erosion!


Seeking Solutions?


The first thing you can do to help yourself achieve better oral health is to choose your beverages carefully: if you enjoy wine, opt for a dry rather than sweet variety, as this can make up to 5 grams difference in sugar content. The best alcohols are plain, clear spirits, such as vodka or gin, however once these are mixed with juice or soft drinks they become more harmful than a pint of beer. 


Whatever you decide to drink, follow these two crucial rules to keep your oral hygiene at its best:


  1. Hydrate!

The more water you drink, the more saliva will be produced in your mouth, and the better protected you will be against harmful bacterias and acids - this also has the added benefit of staving off unpleasant hangovers, so it’s an all-round winner!


  1. Maintain your routine!
The best thing you can do for your dental health is to ensure you keep doing the basics: brush twice a day and floss. If you are planning on drinking over a long period of time, such as in day-long events, make sure to keep your handy Sonisk Pulse portable toothbrush on hand, and periodically give your teeth a quick brush to clean off surface sugars and acid that are sat on your teeth.

Top Tips to Avoid Red Wine Mouth

Top Tips to Avoid Red Wine Mouth

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as drinking a delicious, full-bodied Merlot, only to catch sight of yourself in a mirror and notice that you’ve got purple stained lips and teeth! Read on to find out why red wine mouth happens, and how best to avoid it…


What is Red Wine Mouth?

There are three main culprits when it comes to staining your mouth: anthocyanins, tannins, and acid. Anthocyanins are responsible for the reddish purple colour in grapes, and sit on your teeth, lips, and gums, giving them a purple tinge. Tannins give wine that bitter, astringent taste, and are found in higher levels in full-bodied reds. The astringency in tannins helps to bond pigments to the surface of your teeth. Acid, in turn, softens the enamel on the surface of your teeth, making it more porous and more likely to absorb staining colours.


Brush Before, Not After!

Red wine sticks to plaque buildup on your teeth, so brushing before drinking to ensure a smooth, clean surface can reduce staining. Be sure to brush with a good toothbrush at least 30 minutes before eating or drinking, as the enamel on your teeth is softer for a short time after brushing, which can also help to absorb pigmentation. Be sure not to brush your teeth straight after drinking as the porosity caused by brushing can cause permanent stains! To be safe, wait at least 30 minutes after drinking.


Don’t Drink White Before Red

Did you know that white wine has higher acidity levels than red? That means that drinking white before red actually increases your chances of staining! 


Keep Paper Towels Handy

While brushing too soon after drinking red wine can increase porosity and sensitivity in your teeth, a gentle wipe of your teeth can remove surface staining. Keep some paper towels handy, and after you've had a glass just give your teeth a discrete once-over with a paper towel to keep the serious staining at bay!


Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Though this might seem like it’s the go-to advice for everything, hydration really is a miracle cure. Better hydration equals more saliva, which helps to wash particles off the surface of your teeth. The astringent quality of tannin can make your mouth feel puckered, or even give you a cotton-mouth feeling, which reduces the production of saliva. The best way to counteract the drying is to keep sipping on water, or even drinking a full glass after every glass of wine. This will help stave off a pesky hangover, too!


Use Your Lip Balm

It’s not just the inside of your mouth that suffers dehydration, your lips are fallible, too! Red wine has a tendency of seeping into the cracks and corners of your lips, giving you that stained, puckered look. However, regular application of lip balm keeps your lips soft and moisturised while also creating a barrier between your lips and the wine, making it harder for the wine to seep into the cracks.

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