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Mental illness and poor teeth

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BananaLama

Junior member
Joined
May 20, 2021
Messages
2
Location
England
I have Bipolar Disorder and complex PTSD due to abuse and neglect as a child. I rarely brush my teeth as even the sound of any brushes, nail, floor or tooth, makes me want to be sick, this happens even in TV adverts or movies. I find it very difficult to put a tooth brush in my mouth. Bipolar is a mental disorder characterised by episode of manic highs and severe depressions. Although I take medication I have still had long periods of severe depression where I have needed inpatient treatment. During depressions all self care disappears. My teeth are now stained and chipped and I find this really embarrassing. Any ideas or help would be gratefully appreciated.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,240
Hi BananaLama:welcome:,

your situation sounds very challenging. It must be hard to feel embarrassed about your teeth on top of all the other struggles you have to deal with. I'd like not to jump into ideas or conclusions too quickly, after all if it was so easy, you would have figured it out in between, but I was wondering what have you tried so far and whether you have a dentist you feel comfortable with?

All the best wishes
 
B

BananaLama

Junior member
Joined
May 20, 2021
Messages
2
Location
England
Thank you for your reply. I do have a dental practice I go to. My GP verykindly wrote them a letter with brief details as to why I find parts of the whole procedure difficult. He also rx some Diazepam if I have an appt. The pracrice has a yellow flag on my record and when I go they are very solicitous with their questions, making sure I am comfortable with who the dentist is, they explain well and I never feel that it is rushed. However I never see the same dentist twice. When I explain before the examination how awful I think my teeth are, when they complete the examination including x rays they always say the my teeth are not as bad as I think, that they can tell I don’t drink fizzy drinks or smoke. However I have never spoken about my difficulties cleaning my teeth and try to get out of the chair as quickly as possible. I also always think that the dentist is just saying positive things and that my teeth are terrible. I now feel that my teeth are in such a bad way there is nothing that I can do.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,240
This sounds good. Your GP sounds very supportive and your practice as well, but I see how having one dentist you could see over and over again may help to build more trust. Is that what you would prefer?
Now knowing that you have a dentist, this is what I thought: obviously there are things that are easy to control and some that are not. If self-care is difficult during depressed phases then just doing your best, as you have done up to now is the best thing to do. You need self-care and not pressure. What may be a good idea though is to see your dentist a little bit more often, for example getting a cleaning every few months instead of the usual 6 months. Many people who struggle with home care do that to buffer for the times that are more challenging. Would that be an idea? When it comes to cleaning your teeth at home, you mentioned that you rarely brush, but that still means that there are / were occasions where you did. Are there times you find it easier or others, or maybe something that helps? Also, maybe there are different kinds of tools that you could use, something that doesn't trigger that much? I was thinking even if all you managed at first would be to gently rub your teeth with a piece of cloth, even that may be a good first step and better than doing nothing. So my point is that with a bit of experimenting, you may find a way. Is flossing something that works? Also, how are your eating habits during your depressive phases?
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,240
Btw. here is an article that may be of help:

 
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