Mental Health Awareness

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There is an undeniable connection between the health of one’s mouth as it relates to their mental fitness. As we kick off Mental Health Awareness month, you have the perfect opportunity to extend your care behind traditional dental treatments, and your contributions can positively play into the overall well-being of your patients. We’re sharing several ways dentists can get involved (and it can last the whole year long!)

Educating Patients Is Important for Good Oral & Mental Health

Connecting with patients on the importance of their oral health and its direct influence on mental health is something you can preach all year-long, not just in May. Here are several ways you can support the cause:

1. Education is the first step in preventing oral + mental illness

A mind void of anxiety, depression, and stress, helps patients maintain a healthy mouth that doesn’t suffer from bruxism/grinding, TMJ disorders, gum disease, and oral hygiene neglect. Helping your patients understand the direct impact of mental health and its implications on oral health is key in supporting their overall well-being.  

2. Screen for signs of mental health issues

You’re not a mental health professional, but you can receive training to recognize the signs of stress, anxiety, and depression during routine dental examinations. Gently approaching the subject with patients showing signs of distress gives you an opportunity to suggest they seek further evaluation from a mental health professional. It shows your patients you’re invested in their health as a whole and goes a long way in building trust. 

3. Create a supportive environment

Dental anxiety and fear is common, which often results in barriers to receiving proper dental care. Creating a calm, supportive environment by utilizing techniques like gentle communication, clear explanations of procedures, and offering sedation for those with severe anxiety opens the path for consistent and effective care.  

4. Promote stress reduction techniques

Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies, and as a health professional, you can help patients decrease its effects by recommending stress management techniques. Mindfulness, deep breathing, or wearing mouth guards for grinding all help prevent damage to the body and one’s mouth.  


5. Participate in community events

Participating in or even hosting community events focused on mental health or offering seminars that discuss the importance of oral health as it relates to overall well-being, are effective ways to educate the public. Consider partnering with mental health professionals in your area to provide a holistic approach to health and wellness.  

6. Engage in social media 

Over 68% of the nation reports using some form of social media ( It’s a powerful platform where you can share articles, create fun and informative posts, or host live Q&A sessions about the subject at hand. Because social media has a wide reach, you’ll be promoting the importance of oral and mental health to a larger crowd than just holding a seminar. 

7. Offer mental health resources

Be a hub of information to your patients by providing brochures, links to mental health resources, or referrals to local mental health services. You’ll be seen as more than their dentist — you’ll become an integral part of their health regiment.   

8. Support workplace mental health  

Let’s not forget about your staff and colleagues. Dentistry is a tough industry, and burnout is real. To help support your practice, consider providing mental health days off, encourage staff to take breaks, and offer access to mental health resources or counseling services.

This month has just begun, and we all have an opportunity to do our part for our patients, our team, and even ourselves to ensure our mental and oral health are nurtured and cared for. By educating and making everyone aware of the acute connectedness of our oral and mental health, we can help break down the stigma associated with mental illness and promote healthier lifestyles. 

Related Content:

Hustling Your Way to a Meltdown: Why Slowing Down Can Help You Thrive

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Written by Amplify360

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