22 Nov Why Your Fears May Be Ruining Your Dental Health
Your fears about going to the dentist might go all the way back to childhood. A loud noise you didn’t expect, a pain you didn’t anticipate, or a less-than-caring dentist may have contributed to your fears. Maybe a parent was afraid and you learned by example. People are afraid for a variety of reasons. Being afraid may be understandable, but it’s not something you should continue to live with.
It’s not good for your mental health to be afraid of all dentists, but it’s also not good for your oral and medical health. When you don’t see a dentist because you’re afraid, you put your entire body at risk.
You’re Not Taking Care of Problems
Many patients with dental anxieties and fears know they have problems with their teeth. Some patients have even gone as far as getting a diagnosis and scheduling a procedure, only to cancel at the last minute. Broken and cracked teeth, bleeding gums, impacted wisdom teeth, and cavities are just a few problems you might try to ignore because you’re afraid to go to the dentist.
Not getting these dental health conditions treated or fixed doesn’t make them go away. In fact, they’ll often get worse, causing you more pain and problems. When you finally find a dentist you trust to help you, you’ll need more work done because the problems have only worsened. Now it’s a more complicated and expensive treatment.
You Feel Bad About Your Smile Longer than Necessary
Anyone with a smile they don’t like knows exactly what they don’t like about it. Discolored teeth, a cracked or missing tooth, or other problems can make you hide your teeth and feel bad about yourself. Some patients report feeling low self esteem and a debilitating lack of confidence that permeates every part of their life.
Not only can some of the problems with your teeth become worse over time, but you feel bad longer than necessary which doesn’t help your mental health. No one should feel they have to hide their smile or never speak up so that they don’t let anyone see their teeth. It’s not good for your health or the rest of your life.
Poor Dental Health Leads to Other Health Concerns
Not going to the dentist because you’re afraid can lead to serious health problems. One of the most common is gum disease. This occurs when bacteria builds up on your teeth and your gums become inflamed. The inflammation in your gums can go unchecked unless the infection is treated. Severe gum disease is called periodontitis and it can spread inflammation to the rest of your body. This either complicates other health issues or creates them.
- Gum disease can complicate diabetes by not allowing the body to use insulin properly. This increases your dependency on medication while exacerbating other medical symptoms associated with diabetes.
- Over 90 percent of people with heart disease also have gum disease. It’s believed that inflammation in the mouth may also cause inflammation in the blood vessels.
- Pregnant women with gum disease have been shown to give birth to babies early or with low birth weight.
- Gingivitis may be a precursor to the development of Alzheimer’s in a patient. Scientists theorize that bacteria from the mouth may enter the brain and contribute to the start of the disease.
- Gum disease may impact lung conditions. When bacteria from your mouth is inhaled into your lungs, the inflammation can spread and make it harder to breathe.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) may be tied to chronic periodontal disease which occurs when the gums pull away from the teeth and create spaces where bacteria can grow. When the bacteria gets into the bloodstream and inflames the blood vessels, it’s harder for blood to flow to the genitals.
Being afraid of the dentist happens for a variety of reasons, but if you put off dealing with your fears, it can have a big impact on your health – dental and medical. If you know you’re afraid or anxious, it’s important to find a dentist who will listen to your fears and help you find ways to deal with them. Sedation dentistry may be an option for you while cases of severe phobia may require the help of a mental health professional. Either way, it’s important to deal with your fears so your dental health doesn’t cause more problems than you already have.