How brushing your teeth affects your mental health

Why we all will create daily mental health habits

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Mental health is crucial for our happiness, Photo: Shelby Carol Cude

If brushing your teeth daily, will prevent you from mental diseases? Unfortunately, not to my knowledge. But there is something about the act of brushing your teeth that will help you to work on your mental health, I will get to it soon.

Do you remember when you have been told to brush your teeth as a child? No matter how tired I was, I had to brush my teeth. Except for one day each year when my parents allowed me to go to bed without brushing my teeth, New Year’s Eve – and I loved it! Haha – today I know and understand why it is so important to brush my teeth and I don’t even want to skip it anymore because it doesn’t make any sense. Same applies to all the physical hygiene habits like taking a shower or washing my clothes. But what did my parents teach me about mental hygiene? Did your parents teach you something about how to take care of your mental health? Mine did not. I don’t blame them for it because there was no reason to. We didn’t have any mental health issues in our family so far and during this time, mental hygiene wasn’t even a real word.

Today many of us have a different perspective on the importance of mental health, so does science. We all might know someone who suffers from depression, burnout, stress, anxiety or some kind of mental disease. Mental health issues are one of the biggest issues in the United States, as well as in Europe. There are two ways out of those illnesses, therapy or medicine.

I am not a doctor and I can not give any advice on how to treat an existing mental disease. But what I know is, that there are ways to prevent them and this starts by brushing your teeth.

As much awareness, time and effort, as you put in your physical hygiene habits, you should put in your mental health. In order to prevent mental illness, we need to take care of our mental health, mind-fully and regularly. We need daily mental health habits, a deeper understanding of what that means and more education about this topic. But first, we need to understand why any of this is necessary.

The problem with mental illnesses is, that we don’t see them. People often aren’t even aware of them when suffering from them.

Getting back to what I said I the beginning. The connection between brushing our teeth and mental health. We eat everyday. That means bacteria are getting on and in between our teeth. If we don’t remove the bacteria by brushing our teeth, the bacteria will start to grow and will slowly destroy the teeth and end up in something like tooth decay, pain and eventually loosing the tooth. An inflammation from a tooth can spread out to the whole body, if it is not being treated.

We can poison our whole body by not brushing our teeth. The same applies to our mental health. We all make many experiences everyday, starting with our birth. Good things and bad things happen throughout our whole life. If we don’t take the time to digest those experiences, we carry them with us and they might turn into a mental illness and although this doesn’t sound very likely, mental illnesses destroy families & kill people everyday. I hope this creates a certain understanding of the importance of mental health and why we need to create habits to take care of our mind.

There are endless possibilities of mental health habits. It is a topic on its own. I will give you an idea of what this might look like. But please feel free to dive deeper into this topic if you or someone close to you, might need to create a new habit, in order to being the happiest and healthiest self.

  1. Meditation
  2. Self-reflection
  3. Writing/Journaling
  4. Therapy
  5. Scheduling self-care time

It is all about to find a way to digest everything we experience each day. I love to journal by the end of the day. I write down what happened. And no matter how hard the day might have been, I write down three things that I am grateful for this day. It gives me perspective. Even on the darkest days, I always find something good. Simply taking the time to go through the whole day helps me. Often I rush from one appointment to the next without taking time to hold space for my emotions that those appointments created within me. My morning mediation gives me time to start the day slowly and with a clear focus on what I want to achieve today.

As I said, my goal was to create an understanding for the need of such habits. I really hope this will make you start thinking more about what kind of mental hygiene habits you want to create, from now on, for the rest of your life. Just like brushing your teeth.

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