For many people, brushing your teeth at the beginning and end of the day is nothing more than a mindless but necessary oral health routine. According to a article published on Psychology Today, however, this twice-a-day activity might benefit more than your oral health. It can also have a positive impact on your mental health, your self esteem, and even your overall health.

Young woman brushing her teeth at mirror. What does your brushing routine look like?

“Brushing Your Brain”

Psychology has a popular new exercise: It’s called “mindfulness,” and author Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, describes it as “paying attention to the present moment with intention, while letting go of judgment.”

This method of allowing yourself the freedom to think and experience as you move through your life has been credited for everything from heightened immune strength to better concentration to longer cell life, and it has become a standard recommendation in the treatment of a wide variety of mental disorders. Scientific studies show that mindfulness can be incredibly effective for day-to-day stress reduction, making it a valuable technique for just about everyone.

So what does this have to do with brushing your teeth? It’s easy to “space out” during a robotic task like toothbrushing, which makes it the perfect candidate for a mindfulness exercise. Dr. Fern White, an Australian dentist who also practices mindfulness, suggests that treating your oral health as a mindfulness tool can double as “brushing your brain,” acting as a meditative exercise to calm the mind to prepare it for the day ahead, or relax it for sleep.

To apply mindfulness to your oral health routine, focus on your breathing and try to feel the experience — taste the toothpaste, feel the bristles moving over your teeth and gums, and relax the muscles of your neck and jaw. Instead of zoning out during toothbrushing, experience it. That way, brushing your teeth can do double duty as a mental health and oral health exercise.

Brushing for Beauty

It’s no secret that healthy teeth are beautiful teeth — studies show that we’re 57% more likely to be attracted to people with straight, white teeth, and we even assume they’re more successful and trustworthy than people with crooked or yellow smiles. It’s not surprising, then, that nearly 1.25 million adults cite an unattractive smile as a reason for their low self esteem.

Brushing your teeth twice a day like your dentist recommends is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent decay and discoloration, so including proper oral health care in your morning and evening routines is as much of a beauty practice as it is a health practice. And of course, dentists can give your smile a complete makeover with a variety of cosmetic dental procedures!

If it’s been awhile since a check-up and cleaning, it might be time to schedule an appointment. Work with your dentist for a smile that’s healthy, bright and beautiful.

If you would like to learn more about what makes Dr. Morrell your best choice for a general dentist in Anchorage, please call (907) 274-7691 today for an appointment at Denali Dental Care.