Greetings, I am Katie, the Marketing Director at Old Town Smiles. Today, I invite you on a journey of honesty, vulnerability, and support as we delve into the topic of depression.

Depression is a silent yet prevalent companion that affects individuals of all ages. It brings with it a sense of sadness, hopelessness, and apathy towards activities that once brought joy. This mental health disorder is a complex web of emotions and physical symptoms that can have a significant impact on one’s overall health and well-being.

Did you know that depression can also have a profound effect on your dental health? It can disrupt oral hygiene habits, causing individuals to neglect their oral care and potentially increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. I, myself, have struggled with depression so intensely that even the simplest of tasks, such as brushing my teeth, seemed insurmountable. The birth of my daughter brought with it Postpartum Depression, a murky pool in which I felt I was drowning. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I realized the depths of my struggle and sought the help I needed to heal. Depression can also cause changes in appetite and eating habits, leading to malnutrition or an increase in comfort food consumption, both of which can impact dental health. Lastly, depression can also disturb sleep patterns, which in turn can affect dental health. A dry mouth from poor sleep quality can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Some days, as I gazed upon my beautiful baby daughter’s smile, I felt like I was in a different world, distant and disconnected. My heart ached as I realized I was missing out on the most precious moments, but I couldn’t seem to find my way back to reality. Maintaining my dental hygiene was the last thing on my mind, but the consequences of neglecting my oral health were something I had to face once the dust settled.

I am grateful that I am not only the Marketing Director of Old Town Smiles, but also a patient of Dr. Ahmed. As my colleague, friend, and dentist, she showed me empathy and support, helping me to regain my oral hygiene habits and never once judging me for the yellowing of my teeth or my numerous cavities. Her compassion is something she extends to every patient who walks through our doors.

I share my personal experiences to reach out to those who may fear judgment. If I can touch the heart of even one person who has been too nervous to visit the dentist, I will be happy! At Old Town Smiles, we understand and offer a range of sedation options, including Nitrous Oxide, IV Sedation, and even Scotch, our certified therapy dog, to help ease any anxieties. You can learn more here.

If you are struggling with depression and find it difficult to maintain your oral hygiene, there are several strategies you can start now.

  • Setting reminders for yourself, such as an alarm on your phone, can be a useful tool to prompt you to brush your teeth.
  • Chewing xylitol gum after meals can also help to freshen your breath and increase saliva production, which can aid in keeping your mouth clean. Xylitol has also been proven to prevent cavities.
  • Finding a toothbrush and toothpaste that you enjoy using can make the process more appealing. You can also try breaking the task down into smaller, manageable steps, such as brushing for just 30 seconds at a time.

Remember, taking care of your oral health is important for both your physical and mental well-being.Our doors and hearts at Old Town Smiles are open, and we stand ready to support you.

Today my daughter is almost five years old and I can’t help but smile when we brush our teeth together each night, realizing how far I’ve come. Things do get better, and our team can help support your journey towards a healthy, happy smile. Let’s do this together.

*For those in need, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 800-273-TALK (8255)

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