This tip was given to me by an awesome dentist when I was in the middle of a severe bought of depression:
If you can’t leave your bed, swish water around in your mouth.
If you can make it to the bathroom, swish then spit with mouthwash or a mixture of toothpaste and water.
If you can only brush your teeth for 15-30 seconds, focus on molars and crowded teeth.
If you manage to brush your teeth once a day, that’s okay.
So much of depression and other mental health issues shut you down, and you feel like the smallest things are mountains to climb or it feels pointless to even try them. When I was really struggling, I knew I didn’t have the energy to brush for two minutes twice a day so I didn’t even try at all. I also had really black and white thinking, so if I wasn’t going perfectly brush and floss my teeth, it didn’t occur to me to do anything.
My dentist probably saved most of my teeth with this advice. I slowly started realizing I could just do a little bit each day and feel like I was taking care of myself again, even if all I could do was swish water in my mouth before bed.
Any dentists out there have more tips like this for those who are struggling to take care of their teeth in the middle of a crisis?
Update: Wow! I did not expect such a response. I’m glad I could “pay it forward” with the wonderful advice my dentist gave me. To those of you saying “just brush your teeth” or implying I was just lazy, I’m really happy that you’ve never experienced the same level of despair that I did. I genuinely hope you never do. Though please try to understand, when you’re fighting off thoughts of suicide and worthlessness whenever you’re awake, tartar build up is literally the least of your concerns.
To those of you who are in that place now, my heart goes out to you. Take whatever little steps you can and keep swishing. I wish you all whatever small moments of peace you can find ❤️
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