How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

Posted by WINNING SMILES FAMILY DENTISTRY on May 13 2023, 07:47 AM

Stress is the body’s way of responding to a challenge or obstacle that forces a person to adapt. The stress response is designed to keep us alert and prepared for dangerous situations, but too much stress can lead to health problems such as headaches and indigestion. Other potential side effects include increased blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, problems in the immune system, and weakened memory.

In addition to the physical effects, high-stress levels can also affect the mouth. For example, the teeth may grind together at night in response to anxiety – a condition known as bruxism. Teeth grinding puts extra force on the teeth, potentially causing tooth damage and TMJ issues. You may also suffer from dry mouth if you’re stressed, which can cause bad breath and possibly even gum disease.

Physical Effects

When your body experiences stress, your levels of cortisol spike, and this can lead to a number of physical effects that can negatively impact your oral health. Some of the most common include dry mouth, nausea, and intestinal issues. All of these can cause uncomfortable symptoms for you that can also make it difficult to practice good dental hygiene habits or stick to a healthy diet.

While some of these physical symptoms may not be directly related to your smile, they can still make it much harder to maintain healthy teeth and gums. For example, chronic stomach problems can make it so you have trouble eating a healthy oral diet that’s full of vitamins and minerals that help promote strong teeth and healthy gums. Some foods can even trigger heartburn or acid reflux, which can leave a bad taste in your mouth and be very distracting during dental treatments.

Additionally, anxiety can make it hard to relax during your routine cleanings and checkups with the dentist. This can result in more stress and anxiety about going to the dentist. If it becomes too hard for you to schedule time for your dental appointments, it can lead to problems with more serious oral health issues like decay or gum disease.

The Best Way to Reduce Stress

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your stress levels and improve your overall oral health. Exercise has been shown to be an effective form of stress relief for many people. You can also take up yoga, meditation, or other relaxation exercises. Additionally, avoiding caffeine and other stimulants and keeping a healthy diet can help minimize your risk of stress and its effects on your oral health.

If you are interested in learning more, visit our clinic at Winning Smiles Family Dentistry, 7801 Old Branch Ave #206, Clinton, MD 20735. For appointments, call us at (301) 868-2004. We will be happy to guide you further.

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