If being in love is wrong, we don’t want to be right! And neither should you. In the first study of its kind, researcher Grace Branjerdporn looked into the link between being in love and oral health. The results definitively point out that “the dynamics of our romantic relationships affect our oral health.” Turns out the health benefits of being in love extend to our teeth, too!
Previous studies found that romantic closeness with another person can positively impact our health. On the flip side, stressful relationships can lead to poorer health. The impact our love life has on our health shouldn’t be ignored. This includes how love influences our dental and overall health.
The Dental Health Benefits of Being in Love
The study led by Branjerdporn explains how a person in love feels genuine trust in their partner, which generates a higher feeling of self-worth. Like a positive domino effect, that person develops “better dental visiting habits [and] more confidence related to […] teeth and appearance.”
Since these happy people are taking better care of their teeth as a result of increased self-confidence, the positive effects keep rolling in! Individuals in the study who were in healthy relationships reported a higher level of comfort with and care for their oral health than those not in love.
When you feel better about yourself, you’re more inclined to take care of your well-being. There’s a score that dental professionals use when discussing this. It’s called the oral health–related quality of life (OHRQoL) score. Researchers use OHRQoL to evaluate how happy patients are with their oral health in their day-to-day life.
An increase in OHRQoL means that a person feels that their oral health has helped them to “achieve overall functioning that allows them to pursue valued life goals.” In short, an increase in OHRQoL means an increase in a person’s confidence due to their oral health!
Inversely, a drop in someone’s oral health–related quality of life means that they don’t feel their smile is doing them any favors. Looking at someone’s OHRQoL can also help dentists identify patients who are at risk for poor dental care practices. Patients in the study who “tended to avoid emotional intimacy, or worried their partner would not be available to them in times of need” were less likely to take care of their teeth and “were more likely to have negative oral health outcomes,” Branjerdporn said.
The Negative Dental Health Impacts of Stressful Relationships
The health benefits of being in love have been studied many times over the years. So, it’s no surprise that unhealthy relationships can have a negative impact on your oral and overall health. Emotions really do play a significant role in how healthy we are. People with lower confidence in their relationships (especially their romantic relationships) develop lower confidence in themselves.
The participants mentioned in the above study emotionally distanced themselves from their partner and were much less likely to schedule their bi-annual preventive care appointments with a dentist. Reasons like self-reliance, general distrust, and a lack of confidence were cited by the researchers.
Set the Stage to Benefit from Being in Love
Because partners and cohabitants can influence our dental care habits, it’s important to establish a solid brushing and flossing routine when we begin living with someone. Help one another stay on top of brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and making those necessary dental appointments.
To learn about how technology is changing oral health care, read this blog: Teledentistry: A New Option for Dental Care.