How Stress Affects Oral Health

Posted by BRIGHTWORKS DENTISTRY on Apr 12 2023, 10:19 AM

How Stress Affects Oral Health

Stress is a normal psychological response to events that make you feel worried or anxious. While a little stress can be good since it can help you focus, too much stress can be bad for your health. It can negatively affect your oral health in many ways. It can increase your risk of certain dental issues, disrupt your oral hygiene routine, and even affect your eating habits.

Stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires an adjustment in hormones, blood pressure, and the immune system. While stress is a normal part of life, excessive or prolonged stress can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and anxiety. It’s also been linked to oral health problems, including dry mouth, teeth grinding and jaw clenching, erosion, and even gum disease.

Too much cortisol in the body can restrict blood flow to the gums and cause inflammation in the oral cavity. When your body is stressed, it releases more adrenaline, which can also contribute to tooth pain when left untreated for too long. Some common symptoms of too much stress include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased risk of tooth decay
  • Increased risk of tooth loss
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth grinding
  • Jaw pain
  • Gum recession

But it’s not just your oral health that will suffer; your health may be affected too. Stress can also lead to increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Plus, since your body isn’t performing its best, you’re more prone to sickness. (And when you’re sick, you’re not keeping up with your regular brushing and flossing routine.)

What causes you to feel stressed? Do you tend to grind your teeth at night because of stress at work? Or maybe you notice that you clench your jaw while stuck in traffic. Pay attention to these habits and notice if they coincide with times of high stress in your life. Then try to avoid those situations when you can, or at least find ways to de-stress until you’re feeling better.

No matter what age you are, taking care of your mouth is essential. You have to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. You also have to floss regularly to get rid of plaque and bacteria buildup in between the teeth. While at-home oral care is your first line of defense against tooth decay and cavities, you also need to visit a dentist for regular exams and cleanings. These procedures can help you maintain good oral health as well as find and treat any issues early. Your dentist may recommend ways to relax that don’t involve alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Patients may benefit from massage, warm baths, biofeedback, acupuncture, meditation, exercise, yoga, or therapy. 

To learn more about our dental services or to schedule an appointment, call us at (770) 450-0415, and we will be happy to help.

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1858 Independence Square Suite A
Dunwoody, GA, 30338

Brightworks Dentistry

1858 Independence Square Suite A

Tel: (770) 458-3600

MON - THU : 7:30 am - 3:30 pm

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