Can non-physical things like attitude, stress, and anxiety affect your overall health? Yes, it certainly may, according to Miami holistic dentists and other health professionals. Non-physical mental or emotional states often lead to the development of habits that have a profound impact on overall physical health. Join the Miami Dentist Blog, for this special look at holistic dentistry and the benefit of looking at the big picture when assessing health.
Comments by Dr. Ted Herrmann:
Holistic dentistry hinges on the idea that knowledge is power. Specifically, holistic dentists believe that well educated patients make informed health decisions that lead to an overall healthy lifestyle. Such patients are far less likely to experience serious oral hygiene problems because they understand the big picture. Holistic dentistry patients understand that many things contribute to physical health, including stress management, emotional well being, and exercise. Though none of these elements of a healthy lifestyle directly affects oral health, they nevertheless have an indirect impact on the teeth and gums.
Holistic Dentistry: Non-physical Affecting the Physical
To illustrate how the non-physical often impacts the physical, let us imagine an individual who suffers from anxiety and stress. Though anxiety and stress have no direct impact on physical health, they ultimately cause unhealthy behaviors that compromise overall wellness. An individual who suffers from high amounts of stress, for example, may seek the comfort of certain foods that help to curb stress. Sugary candies and chocolate would be this individual’s first choice as each triggers a temporary endorphin release in the brain, causing the individual to “feel good” for a short period of time. Despite the short-term benefit, sugary foods may trigger specific physical health problems like weight gain and tooth decay. The short-term benefit of “feeling good” is far outweighed by the long term downfalls of weight gain and tooth decay, two serious developments that may lead to other serious illnesses.
In much the same way, an individual who suffers from anxiety is prone to develop certain habits that lead to decreased physical health. For example, it is a common medical fact that anxiety causes tension. Individuals with anxiety may become excessively tense over time and develop teeth grinding or clenching habits. Clenching and grinding are two symptoms of bruxism, a dental condition that eventually leads to a destruction of tooth enamel. Once weakened, the teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay and irritation.
Holistic Dentistry and Wellness
Understanding how non-physical things like stress and anxiety manifest themselves as physical conditions is the first step in developing holistic health awareness. The human body is an intricately connected system in which each part is affected by the next. Understanding the cause of the problem—often times a non-physical thing—helps patients to correct the problem to hedge against future damage. An individual who understands that they suffer from stress and a consequential poor diet, for example, is empowered to make a change. He or she may choose to seek the soothing comfort of daily yoga practice or meditation to reduce stress, saving their bodies from the destructive side effects of poor nutrition.
Do you practice holistic health management? If so, we’d love to hear your advice on managing stress and anxiety! Join the conversation by logging on to Twitter and send a Tweet to the @Assure_A_Smile Twitter account! To learn more about holistic dentistry, you may contact Assure a Smile to schedule an appointment and wellness consultation with one of our professionals today!