Researchers wanted to determine whether being in a relationship had an impact on oral health, so they looked at what they describe as a “convenience sample” of 265 adults. Researchers surveyed these adults about their relationship experiences and attitudes.
Subjects also responded to three measures of their oral health: the Oral Health Quality of Life, the Dental Neglect Scale, and a single overall question about how they rated their oral health.
Researchers then performed a statistical analysis of the results. They found that several relationship problems were associated with poor oral health and maintenance. People who tended to avoid emotional intimacy or who were insecure in their relationship were more likely to have oral health problems and less likely to visit the dentist.
But people in happy relationships visited the dentist more often, had more confidence in their teeth, and felt better about their overall oral health.
Which Is the Cause and Which Is the Effect?
As with many studies, this research doesn’t actually tell us that being in a happy relationship causes better oral health. It just notes an association.
When discussing their results, researchers extrapolate causality. They say that certain relationship factors lead to healthy teeth. For example, people who are emotionally distant have difficulties making relationships with dentists and doctors as well as romantic partners. They are less likely to seek help for oral health problems, causing them to worsen. Other studies have demonstrated this effect.
It also makes sense that being in a relationship leads one to make more regular commitments to health care. If you forget to go to the dentist, or if you’re facing oral health problems (such as bad breath), there’s someone there to tell you.
But researchers neglected to talk about the potential causation in the other direction. People with good smiles might be more likely to find healthy, happy relationships. Certainly, the positive characteristics shown by your smile can lay a good foundation. We know that a smile is the most valued characteristic in choosing a date. If you’re happy with your smile, you’re more likely to feel secure in yourself and in your relationship. Maintaining good oral health can help preserve sexual health, which leads to more security in a relationship.
Healthy Smiles and Healthy Relationships
Although the research may not be clear about which is the cause and which is the effect, we know that healthy smiles and healthy relationships go together. Being happy in your relationship gives you a good foundation and a good reason to maintain your oral health. And having good oral health helps you maintain peace and happiness in your relationship.
If you are looking for a Tulsa dentist who can help you maintain your oral health, please call (918) 528-3330 today for an appointment at élan by Dr. Meghan Hodges.