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Welcome to Our Smile Blog


The Importance of Mental Health on Your Dental Health

At Karen Harriman DDS, we aim to support the mental health of our amazing employees who have helped keep us all safe during the pandemic. As part of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we recently spent the day attending an excellent seminar about happiness featuring world-renowned psychology of wellbeing expert, Todd Kashdan, Ph.D. Dr. Kashdan is an expert on ‘Wholeness’. This seminar provided tools to be the best humans we can be and therefore the best healthcare providers for our patients. The lecture and interactive clinic were really eye-opening and inspiring for us.

It’s important to shed light on and emphasize the effects of mental health issues and your dental health. Some issues that we notice when people are affected by mental health issues include:

  1. Missing Dental Appointments — Perhaps out of anxiety, low energy or not wanting to leave your house, ignoring your dental needs including regular exams and cleanings can lead to much bigger dental problems down the road, such as gum disease, dental pain, and tooth loss. If the fear of Covid-19 is giving you anxiety, check out the precautions we are taking at our dental office here.

  2. Coping Habits — When you are suffering from mental health issues, certain habits such as smoking or drinking can become coping mechanisms. These substances are extremely problematic for your oral health and can lead to a variety of dental diseases.

  3. Teeth Grinding — Stress and anxiety can lead to clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth (bruxism), particularly at night so you may not notice at first. It’s important to visit your dentist to pick up the signs of this and provide the necessary night guard to help reduce the effects of grinding your teeth.

  4. Dental Hygiene Habits — For many people suffering from mental health issues, even tasks like brushing teeth can feel difficult. As a result, your dental health can suffer.

If you recognize any of these issues in yourself or someone you love, please reach out and we can provide resources to help. It doesn’t matter how long you have left your teeth unseen, we can provide treatment options to work on getting your teeth and gums back to good health.

"Nobody should be ignored. Nobody should be invisible.

Nobody should go through life without support."

- Isaac Prilletensky

Remember, you are not alone. The first step is making an appointment with your Falls Church dentist so we can examine your dental needs. Call us today or request an appointment online. Our team is kind, compassionate, and dedicated to helping our patients with all their dental needs.


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