Rana Al-Falaki gives an insight into how poor oral health can affect patients’ confidence and even their mental health.
Many people think that their oral health is just about their teeth, and what does it matter if they lose those? Can’t they just replace them easily enough nowadays?
Well that is not strictly true. It isn’t always so straightforward or possible. And if it is, it involves a lot of time, expense and possible pain.
Following on from that, they will still have a lifetime commitment to maintaining those new teeth – or implants as they would then be.
With that in mind, the focus nowadays is very much on trying to maintain the teeth we have.
If our patients have gum disease, their gums may bleed, they may have bad breath, their teeth may move, and their gums may recede. The gaps between teeth get bigger and food packing is a result. In addition to that, they may have infections, swelling and pain. They may even find that it impacts their speech and they lisp.
In addition to all of this, gum disease has links with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimers, arthritic, lung diseases, strokes, and depression – to name just a few!
Can you imagine how that is likely to knock our patients’ confidence and mental health?
Typical things my patients come in complaining of:
- Covering their mouths because they are conscious of their appearance or worried they have bad breath
- Waking up with blood on their pillow. Feeling like they have a blood bath on their hands when they use brushes to clean between their teeth
- Not able to eat anything without having to go to the bathroom to remove the food. So eating out or in front of people is an issue
- Not wanting to smile anymore because they dislike the appearance
- Needing to cut up their food, only eating soft foods or never being able to bite into an apple again
- Not wanting to kiss their partners for fear of bad breath or giving them the disease
- Generally feeling unwell and worried about their future health.
As a specialist periodontist and a life coach, I not only treat patients, but aim to empower them.
It’s not only about treating the disease, but long term you also have to engage in health positive behaviours if you are going to give yourself the best chance of remaining healthy long term and avoid the disease coming back.
These are some things patients can try:
- See a dentist, establish a diagnosis and have treatment. You can also refer them to a hygienist or a specialist
- Use high quality products that help you. I favour Ultradex products. They are clinical proven to prevent halitosis, lift stains, and help prevent gum disease. All my patients are given these products to use after treatment to aid in the healing process. What’s better, they are safe to use long term
- Ask patients to commit to a long term change in habits. For good oral health, they need to brush effectively, which means using both a toothbrush and something to clean between the teeth. Ask them what would make it easy to adapt this behaviour into their life? Some typical issues my patients complain of are:
- I fall asleep on the sofa and am then too tired – so try brushing and using your mouthwash as soon as you have had dinner and then the deed is done
- I do shifts and can’t get into a routine – so take your products to work! Ultradex even has an on-the-go mouthwash and fresh breath spray
- I ran out of brushes or mouthwash so stopped using it… – so add it to your online shopping list so it never runs out. The Ultradex range of products is widely available in Boots, Tesco, and even online through Amazon and Ocado
- Stop smoking – again, like with any behaviour change, I have to tap into each persons mindset to establish what their blocks are to quitting and to address those. Understanding the impact that smoking will have on oral health though is certainly the first step
- Eat a healthy, plant-rich diet. A diet full of anti-oxidants is so good for oral health. A good way to keep this one going is to keep a food diary and log how much more energised you feel from this diet
- Exercise – what on earth does that have to do with my oral health you may ask. Well it impacts your general health and your immune system. This needs to be healthy to prevent patients from developing infection and inflammation
- Reduce stress. Stress has a huge impact on oral health and we have already discussed how the disease itself can cause stress! Simple practices of mindfulness, mediations, breathing is a good start. How you choose to deal with triggers and events in your life will have a significant impact on how stress affects your health. So depending on where you are at, either a therapist of some sort of a life coach can help with this.
As we emerge from a period of intense stress globally, what better time than to take matters into your own hands. Empower patients, and get them to take action to improve their confidence!
Ultradex is one of the UK’s number one brands for Halitosis. Unlike other mouthwashes that mask bad breath for a short time, Ultradex is clinically proven to eliminate bad breath compounds instantly and last for 12 hours. Additionally it’s clinically proven to; protect teeth and gums by removing bacteria and restore natural teeth whiteness by gently lifting everyday stains. Backed by scientific research, it has been developed, used and recommended by dental professionals for over 20 years.
For more information about Ultradex, visit ultradex.co.uk.
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