Why am I so paranoid about my teeth?

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In this blog we will explore the question Why am I so paranoid about my teeth?

We will also explore what you can do if you are overly paranoid about your teeth. 

Why am I so paranoid about my teeth?

The possible reason why you are so paranoid about your teeth is because you are anxious about it’s impact on your health, the way you look, and also the dreaded doctors visit. 

When it comes to one’s paranoia surrounding teeth, there is no simple answer that can explain it away. However there are some possible explanation regarding your paranoia these include:

  • Health anxiety
  • Body Dysmorphic disorder
  • General anxiety surrounding dental health

Health anxiety

Health anxiety or hypochondria is a serious mental condition where the individual believes that they have a serious medical condition that might kill them. So the paranoia around your teeth could be caused by these irrational fears related to your health. (Healthline)

Every time you are faced with a slight ache or you think that your teeth are moving etc, could be because you are worried that it might be indicative of an underlying health condition that could cost you your life.  

Calm Clinic mentions that,

“…Many people do not have a problem with their teeth. Rather, their anxiety causes them to obsess over their teeth, believing that every toothache means there is a tooth health problem and possibly even over-brushing to the point where they can actually damage their teeth and gums”

So it is possible that you are paranoid because you are worried that there is an ever deeper issue surrounding your teeth which causes you to become more paranoid. 

Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is another mental disorder where one obsesses over one’s physical appearance often focusing on flaws and defects. (Mayoclinic)

It is a serious mental health condition that can take over one’s life and severely affect the quality of one’s mental health, relationships, and other areas. 

According to a 2018 study that sought to evaluate the association between oral health and body dysmorphia in children aged 8-11, found that there was a strong association between the two. 

The researcher concluded that, “oral health is included in the general perception of body status.” meaning that a possible reason that you are paranoid about your teeth and how your teeth looks, leading you to obsess over them might indicate a possible Body dysmorphic disorder.

General anxiety surrounding dental health

Another very common issue related to teeth is dental anxiety which involves the anxiety surrounding anything that has to do with dentists- dental procedure, the dentists themselves, and even the thought of going to the dentist.

This is usually because you might have had a negative experience related to dental practices which has instilled in you this fear and anxiety due to which now, you have become paranoid about your teeth simply because you do ot want to go to the doctors again. 

I am so paranoid about my teeth, what do I do?

Here are a few things you can do to cope with this paranoia:

Follow a healthy oral hygiene

Make sure that you follow proper healthy dental hygiene and this means brushing daily, twice, using mouthwash, avoiding sweets and other things that could decay your teeth faster such as soda, flossing etc. 

It is important that you do what you can, in a healthy amount to maintain your dental health. Make sure you dont over do it since over brushing can lead to wearing and over flossing can lead to bleeding gums etc. 

Don’t forget your annual visit to the dentist

Another thing you can do is to go to the dentist every six months to maintain and keep up with your dental condition so that there is no larger issue to address in the future. 

You should make sure that you see your dentist when you notice anything, instead of brushing it off. 

Identify the thought for what it is 

Once you have done everything you can do to keep a healthy oral hygiene and the paranoia is still rampant, you can deal with the paranoia. 

Most of these paranoia and fear of having your house broken into does involve intrusive thoughts that you cannot ignore.

When you come across a thought that is intrusive and distressing, don’t suppress it or try to reject them away. 

Instead acknowledge its existence in your mind and identify them for what they are- intrusive thoughts are not predictions nor does it guarantee that it will happen. These are just thoughts that will come and go. 

Don’t fight the thought

As mentioned above, don’t fight it. Take notice of it, acknowledge it. Now acknowledging it is different from accepting it. 

Acknowledging a thought, is to understand that it is there in your mind but not rejecting it nor judging the thought. Simply observe the thought. 

The more you try to push away these thoughts, the more likely they will come back and the more likely that it will be more distressing. Let the thought be, and let yourself be. It will pass.

Rationalise your thoughts

Engaging in Rationalising your thoughts related to your fears and anxiety by making use of worksheets and workbooks related to anxiety and phobias while also putting forward real evidence to calm your anxieties.

Seek out support

Seeking out support from friends and family in the case that you find yourself extremely afraid. 

Reaching out to them, via phone call or asking them to be with you on days that the anxiety is really overpowering can be a good way to cope. 

Replace these thoughts with positive thoughts

Once you’ve let yourself be with these thoughts, replace these thoughts with something positive, something real. 

Take time to notice what is happening in the present. Instead of focusing on the what ifs, focus on what is and what you are doing at the moment and who you are in the present. 

Make positive lifestyle changes

Take care of yourself. Avoid drinking and doing drugs, instead eat a healthy diet that is full of nutrients and engage in exercise- this can be walks, joining the gym, or running a marathon. 

Make changes that benefit your physical health as well as allow you to engage with a positive crowd. If you think socialisation is not something you want to do, then there are plenty of exercises that you can do alone. Make sure you get good sleep by developing a healthy sleep hygiene as well.

Consider therapy

If your symptoms are debilitating or severe to the point where it is getting in the way of your day to day life, the most advisable thing you can do is to seek treatment from a mental health professional.

Seeking treatment for your underlying mental health condition such as Body dysmorphic disorder, hypochondria, and general anxiety can be a way to deal with your paranoia. 

Some of the therapy options that you have for dealing with paranoia include:

Cognitive behavioural therapy

In terms of Cognitive behavioural therapies your therapist will teach you how to regulate your negative and irrational thoughts when you come across triggers. 

As you engage in therapy you will start learning to alter your thoughts, develop an awareness of how you feel, challenge your beliefs and assumptions surrounding mental illness and mental health and build healthier and well-informed ones. 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

MBSR is an evidence-based program that involves mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues. 

MBSR could be helpful in helping individuals deal with their intrusive thoughts as it has been found to be effective in tackling anxiety issues by helping individuals learn how to develop a mindful awareness of one’s thoughts and behaviours that aggravate paranoia. 

The program involves teaching and training individuals to develop skills to cope with the ansirty or to reduce the intensity of the paranoia. 

Rational Emotive Behavioural therapy

REBT is an action-oriented type of CBT that addresses unhealthy or irrational beliefs and attitudes that influence thoughts,  emotions, and behaviours. 

It follows the ABC model of developing an awareness about the processes that influenced the development of the intrusive thoughts such as the activating event, the beliefs that were developed as a result and the consequences of those beliefs. 

It uses a method known as “disputing” to assist individuals develop realistic and healthy beliefs and as a consequence develop the ability to rationalise their thoughts and their emotional and behavioural responses as well. 

Pharmacological treatment

If your anxiety is extremely severe your doctor may prescribe you antidepressants or an anti-anxiety medication to assist your phobia treatment, your panic, and other physical symptoms.

Conclusion

In this blog we have explored the question Why am I so paranoid about my teeth?

We have also explored what you can do if you are overly paranoid about your teeth. 

FAQ related to Why am I so paranoid about my teeth?

Why does the dentist freak me out?

This is usually because you might have had a negative experience related to dental practices which has instilled in you this fear and anxiety due to which now, you have become paranoid about your teeth simply because you do ot want to go to the doctors again. 

How do you know if you have dentophobia?

Xenophobia refers to one’s fear of dentists and dental procedures. Some signs of xenophobia includes:

  • Avoidance and refusal to go to the dentist even if the condition is really bad and needs medical attention.
  • Refusing procedures and treatments due to fear of pain of these procedures
  • Panic attacks at the idea or when visiting the dentist
  • Anxiety symptoms such as sweating, heart beating rapidly, trembling, crying etc when you come across the thought of or when you visit the dentist. 

What is oral anxiety?

Oral anxiety refers to anxiety surrounding your oral health with respect to your dental health and hygiene and is often the cause of stress and anxiety along with other psychological issues like the need to be perfect and appear perfect.

What is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety involves the anxiety surrounding anything that has to do with dentists- dental procedure, the dentists themselves, and even the thought of going to the dentist.This is usually because you might have had a negative experience related to dental practices.

References

Cirino.E. What is health anxiety?. Helathine. Retrieved on 2nd March 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/health-anxiety#:~:text=Health%20 anxiety%20is%20an%20 obsessive,of%20physical%20 symptoms%20of%20illness.

Body dysmorphic disorder. MayoClinic. Retrieved on 2nd March 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353938#:~:text=Body%20dysmorphic%20disorder%20is%20a,may%20avoid%20many%20social%20situations.

Banu A, Șerban C, Pricop M, Urechescu H, Vlaicu B. Dental health between self-perception, clinical evaluation and body image dissatisfaction – a cross-sectional study in mixed dentition pre-pubertal children. BMC Oral Health. 2018;18(1):74. Published 2018 May 3. doi:10.1186/s12903-018-0542-2

Abraham.M. Anxiety and Teeth Problems. CalmClinic. Retrieved on 2nd March 2022. https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/signs/teeth-problems

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