It’s important to keep our health in check especially now that we are dealing with a pandemic. However, it’s important to note that your mental health matters just as much as your physical health. Don’t leave it unattended.

Mental health is a serious issue that affects all ages and people from all walks of life. It is estimated that approximately 450 million people worldwide experience mental illness and disorders, rendering them vulnerable to physical and emotional harm. According to the Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS), about one in 7 Singaporeans have experienced a mood or anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.

The Covid-19 pandemic has unfortunately added an extra fold of stress and anxiety. With fear and uncertainty creeping over every aspect of life, it is important to know how to cope with mental health amid this crisis and how to overcome it. At the same time, Covid-19 has also given us the opportunity to reassess what is truly important in our lives.

What is Mental health?

Mental health in a medical standpoint refers to cognitive, behavioural, and emotional wellbeing. It affects our emotions, how we feel and how we interact with one another. An individual with good mental health is able to cope with the everyday challenges of life, develop positive relationships between loved ones, and is able to find joy in living life. There are several factors that contribute to mental illness and a genetic predisposition is one of them. There are several social factors that contribute to mental illness and here are some of them.

What are the social factors that contribute to mental illness?

Practice-mindfulness-and-seek-spirituality

One of the key social factors that contribute to mental illness is the stigmatisation of mental disorders. A lack of awareness of the causes, symptoms and treatment options of mental disorders in the general public and a lack of interpersonal contact with affected individuals will result in increased stigmatisation and discrimination of individuals suffering from mental illness.

An important point to note is that mental health and mental illness lie on a continuum. This means it is difficult to categorise any individual to a state of complete mental wellbeing. It is perfectly normal for a healthy individual to have an episode of a mental breakdown or even a psychotic episode such as a hallucination without being labelled as an individual suffering from a mental disorder.

This makes mental illness similar to other diseases that lie on a continuum such as heart disease and cancer where individuals can have genetic factors and lifestyle factors that either increase or reduce the chances of the illness occurring. Studies have shown that 75% to 90% of people who have suffered an episode of mental illness can recover completely and are able to lead a normal and fulfilling life. Therefore, only a small percentage of people suffer from long term mental illnesses that are debilitating.

Other than the points stated above, some of the other social factors that contribute to mental illness are our modern, urbanised lifestyle, immigration and poverty that result in lack of resources. Recreational drug use is a significant contributor to mental illness. Fortunately, the drug laws in Singapore are very strict.

5 ways to cope with mental health during Covid-19

1) Stay in touch with your loved ones

full-denture

1) Stay in touch with your
loved ones

Although it may sound obvious, not many people would muster the courage to talk to their loved ones when they are suffering from mental health issues. It’s important to have social interactions with your loved ones and express your fears and worries to them. They might not have the solution to your problems, but at least they would listen and try to understand your situation. By keeping constant contact with them, you effectively put your worries to rest and reduce the amount of anxiety and stress within yourself as well.

2) Practice mindfulness and seek spirituality

Partial Denture

2) Practice mindfulness and
seek spirituality

Take a few minutes to practice slow breathing exercises. Meditation and prayer help us to remember the existence of a higher power and keeps our egos in check. Remind yourself that the success you have seen is not your efforts alone. Likewise, don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Be a seeker of spirituality and whichever faith you belong to, there are pearls of wisdom and life lessons to be learnt in scriptures and holy books. However, these can only be understood when we actually take time to study religion and spirituality. Unfortunately, most of us become too focused on the rituals and forget the lessons behind the rituals.

Regardless of whether you belong to a formalised religion or not, the practice of mindfulness, meditation and prayer will help you cope. Always believe that when something negative occurs, there will always be something positive to uplift you.

3) Limit the amount of exposure to news

Clean-it-daily

3) Limit the amount
of exposure to news

It is good that we keep ourselves informed. However, too much negative information from all forms of media can not only heighten fears of the virus but also spread misinformation. It is advisable to limit the amount of time spent on social media as it may expose us to false rumours and misinformation. The dilemma of choosing who to believe and having to evaluate whether the information is trustworthy can take a toll on our mental health. Therefore, it is recommended that we keep up with the latest news from reliable and accurate sources only, such as the government officials or the World Health Organization.

4) Practice gratitude

4) Practice gratitude

The many changes that have occurred as a result of Covid-19 will be a cause for stress and anxiety for many. Some of our patients and friends who are in the entertainment industry, tourism and other business owners have seen massive changes in their business models but they have taken it in their stride and have adapted well. It is important for all of us to take a step back and be grateful for what we have regardless of our current circumstances and be grateful for all the things that we have been blessed with.

5) Stay Active

Do not wear dentures overnight

5) Stay Active

Exercising and eating right keeps the mind and body healthy. Exercise helps to regulate our hormones such as cortisol which is related to stress. Exercise also releases endorphins that make us feel good and with just 20 to 40 minutes of physical activity, we can improve our anxiety levels and mood for several hours. Whether it is a jog at the park, hitting the gym or joining a yoga class—they all have benefits to mental health and wellbeing.

Where to seek help?

How-long-do-they-last

We understand how it can be overwhelming at times so here are some of the numbers that you can refer to whenever you are having trouble coping with mental health or in need of professional help.

  • 1. National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (available from 8am to 12am daily)
  • 2. Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
  • 3. Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours)
  • 4. Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6385-3714 (Mon to Fri 9am-5pm)
  • 5. TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800 377 2252 (Mon to Fri 9am-6pm)

Do note that your dental health is closely related to your mental wellbeing as well, so don’t forget to keep your teeth and gums healthy during this challenging time.

If you’re due for a dental checkup, you can book an appointment with us here!

We know that you have plenty of questions that need answering. Don’t be shy and let us know! We are more than happy to answer any questions pertaining to your dental health.

References:

1. What is Mental Illness | Singapore Association for Mental Health : Mental Wellness for All. (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from https://www.samhealth.org.sg/understandingmental-health/what-is-mental-illness/

2. Bentzen, J. (2020). Rising religiosity as a global response to COVID-19 fear | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal. Retrieved 25 September 2020, from
https://voxeu.org/article/rising-religiosityglobal-response-covid-19-fear

3. Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M., & Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). Exercise and mental health. Maturitas, 106, 48-56.

4. Van Os, J., Linscott, R. J., Myin-Germeys, I., Delespaul, P., & Krabbendam, L. J. P. M.(2009). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the psychosis continuum: evidence for a psychosis proneness-persistence-impairment model of psychotic disorder. Psychological medicine, 39(2), 179.

5. COVID-19: How to manage your mental health during the crisis. (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/indepth/mental-health-covid-19/art-20482731

6. Stress: Signs, Symptoms, Management & Prevention. (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11874-stress

7. Mental health statistics: poverty. (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-poverty

8. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

9. WHO | Mental disorders affect one in four people. (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from
https://www.who.int/whr/2001/media_centre/press_release/en/

10. Suicide Facts and Figures | Samaritans of Singapore (SOS). (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from
https://www.sos.org.sg/learn-about-suicide/quick-facts

Dentures help fill in the gap that occurs due to teeth loss and although it is more common among older people, almost anyone can have dentures. Read more to find out what dentures are, and how you can maintain it.

If you think dentures are only for old people, you are wrong. Younger people do sometimes lose their teeth too and end up needing dentures for cosmetic reasons or to simply chew their food better. Overloading of remaining natural teeth, shifting of natural teeth, inability to chew well, bone loss, and changes in appearances are some of the many problems associated with missing teeth. But fret not, dentures are a quick and cost-effective means to solve some of these problems.

Dentures or false teeth are either made of acrylic (plastic) or metal. They are replacements for missing teeth and need to be removed daily for cleaning.

Types of dentures

1. Full Denture

full-denture

 1. Full Denture

Full dentures are made after the removal of teeth and when the gum has begun to heal. People opt for full dentures when they have lost either all of the upper or lower teeth. In general, it can take up to 12 weeks for the jaw bone to stabilize after teeth removal. However, most patients are unable to be without any teeth for such a long time. As such, dentures are occasionally made in advance before teeth removal and these are called Immediate Dentures. Dentures can also be made without waiting for complete healing of the jaw bone, but this means that the dentures have to be refined as the jaw bone heals.

2. Partial Denture

Partial Denture

2. Partial Denture

Partial dentures, on the other hand, are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. The dentures are attached to a pink or gum-coloured plastic base and are sometimes connected by a metal framework to hold the denture in place. Partial dentures fill in the gaps to avoid any teeth from changing position.

The best time to consider dentures is…

If you have missing or damaged teeth, dentures can be one of the options for teeth replacement. Damaged teeth could lead to an infection, leaving you with no choice but to lose your teeth if you do not have it checked immediately. Avoid the loss of teeth from tooth decay, gum disease or cracked teeth so that you will not require dentures.
The best-time-to consider-dentures is

Getting used to dentures might not be an easy task for everyone and some patients may need about 3 to 6 months to get used to a new pair of dentures. Eating with dentures will never quite be the same and this means sometimes being unable to eat certain foods comfortably—for example, chewing on a steak or biting into an apple.

With today’s technology, however, there is a good chance that you can still fix your damaged teeth before dentures are needed. When you visit your dentist regularly, they are able to detect the early signs of tooth decay or gum disease and recommend the best treatment.

Getting-a-TENS
Getting a TENS recording is a painless procedure. In fact, it can be very relaxing. It’s almost like getting a massage for your jaw muscles!

At Coast Dental, we use an equipment known as the J5 TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine to relax the muscles of the jaw during the measurement stage to record the most relaxed position of the jaw and its muscles. This is done mostly for patients who have lost all their teeth or several teeth resulting in an altered jaw position. The new dentures will then be fabricated in this newly recorded jaw position, and our patients have found this to give enhanced cosmetic and functional benefits.

How long do they last?

How-long-do-they-last

On average, dentures can fit well for about 3-5 years. During denture usage, the jaw bone continues to change its shape and after about 3-5 years, there can be considerable bone loss resulting in a poor-fitting denture. So at this point, the current denture may need to be adjusted for a better fit or a new denture may be required. This is because poor-fitting dentures tend to accelerate bone loss, which can be uncomfortable to wear in later years. Eating and speaking become inevitably difficult and it can also lead to a sore mouth, fungal growth in the mouth and other problems. Dentures that are supported by implants, on the other hand, can last longer as the implants help to retain the natural bone and give support to the denture.

5 simple tips maintain your dentures

1. Clean it daily

Clean-it-daily

 1. Clean it daily

Your dentures need to be cleaned daily. You can use a toothbrush, denture brush or a non-abrasive denture cleanser to remove food, plaque or other deposits. Be careful not to use denture cleansers inside your mouth.

2. Soak in a denture-cleaning solution

Soak-in-a-denture-cleaning-solution

2. Soak in a denture-cleaning
solution

Generally, dentures need to stay moist in order to retain their shape. You can soak your dentures in water or denture-cleaning solution overnight to clean the remaining plaque and to disinfect the
dentures. You should check with your dentist regarding soaking your dentures overnight first.

3. Do not wear dentures overnight

Do not wear dentures overnight

 3. Do not wear dentures
overnight

Unless told otherwise, you should not wear your dentures overnight. This is to help relieve any soreness, prevent infection and the potential risk of denture-related stomatitis, especially among older people and those at a higher risk of developing stomatitis.

4. Clean your mouth after
removing dentures

Clean your mouth

4. Clean your mouth after
removing dentures

Cleaning your mouth is just as important as cleaning your dentures. So, be sure to clean your mouth after removing your dentures. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your natural teeth,
tongue, cheeks and palate (roof of your mouth). Don’t forget to remove the remaining denture adhesive from your gums too!

5. Schedule regular dental
checkups

Schedule regular dental

 5. Schedule regular dental
checkups

The best option is to seek professional help from your dentist. They are able to offer you the best advice on maintaining your dentures as well as how often you should have it examined. They can also check the inside of your mouth to make sure that everything is in good shape.

Are you due for a dental checkup? If yes, come and book an appointment with us here!

If you have any questions regarding dentures or would like us to cover a specific topic, let us know!

References:

Bucker, D. (2017, July 26). Are Dentures Only for Older People? Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://yourdentalhealthresource.com/are-dentures-only-for-older-people/

Dan. (2017, March 25). 5 Signs You Might Need Dentures Including Damaged Teeth. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://ericssondental.com/5-signs-might-need-dentures/

Davenport, T. (2019, December 10). What Problems Can You Have From Poor Fitting Dentures? Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://www.verywellhealth.com/dentures-and-the-effects-of-poor-fitting-dentures1059196

Dentalhealthorg. (n.d.). Denture care guidelines. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://www.dentalhealth.org/denturecareguidelines

Denture care. (2017, November 16). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://www.mayoclinic.org/denturecare/expert-answers/faq-20058375

DENTURE. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
http://thegigidental.com/portfolio/denture/

Friedman, M. (2019, April 23). Dentures: Types (Partial and Complete), Cost, Cleaning, and More. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-health-dentures

How Long Does a Set of Dentures Last? (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://www.arboursdentistry.com/blog/how-long-does-a-set-of-dentures-last

Signs Your Dentures Need to Be Replaced. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://www.cccrdentistry.com/blog/signs-your-dentures-need-to-190849/

Steven B. Horne, D. (2020, September 11). Dentures: Facts on Partial and Full Dentures. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://www.medicinenet.com/dentures/article.htm

What are Dentures – Getting Dentures. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/dentures/what-are-dentures

Why you should never ignore gaps in teeth: The Dental Room, Balwyn North, Melbourne. (2020, June 11). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from https://www.thedentalroom.com.au/why-you-should-never-ignore-gaps-inteeth/