5 ways to manage ADHD and oral health

ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is one of the most common disorders among children and diagnosis in adulthood is becoming more and more common. Everyone is different, so management of ADHD will also look different. Explore five ways to help manage ADHD while keeping a healthy smile.

1. Share with your dentist


Many of the medications commonly used to treat ADHD can cause dry mouth, which puts you at a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Be sure to communicate with your dentist about all the medications and supplements you take, and if you or your child is experiencing dry mouth symptoms.

There is a link between ADHD and teeth grinding. If you experience teeth grinding while you sleep, talk with your dentist about options, which may include wearing a night guard to protect your smile.

2. Establish a routine


While establishing routines may be challenging for those with ADHD, they can also be a helpful tool for making days run more smoothly. One of the first steps in establishing a routine is setting up reminders or notifications for daily and weekly tasks. 

A way to use technology to your advantage is by automating recurring appointments and setting up reminders for important events and payments.

3. Consider your diet


Research has shown that limiting simple carbohydrates and sugars and adding protein to your diet can help to improve concentration. A high-protein diet consists of beans, cheese, eggs, lean meat and nuts. These foods are good for your brain, therefore can be good for ADHD. These foods are also great for supporting a healthy smile — a win-win!

Start your day with a healthy breakfast that's high in protein. Not only will this help boost your energy for the day, but it can also help you stay alert and focused.

4. Plan your meals


Meal planning is great for maintaining a balanced, healthy diet. To start, keep a standing list of weekly grocery staples. Then, take a few minutes to add anything else you need before grocery shopping based on the recipes you’ve chosen for the upcoming week’s meals.

Fresh ingredients that are low in fat, sugar and salt can make ADHD symptoms easier to manage and ensure your teeth get the essential vitamins and minerals they need.

5. Get in exercise


Exercise is good for your body from head to toe. Not only does it build muscle, it also releases chemicals in the brain like dopamine, which can help clear the mind and focus attention. Exercising regularly is beneficial for your oral health, too. Taking even just a 15-minute walk can help curb sugar cravings and support a healthy immune system, which is great for protecting your smile.

Those with ADHD tend to have less dopamine in their brains than their neurotypical counterparts. Exercise is a way to boost the amount of dopamine naturally.

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