How Stress Affect Oral Health?

Posted by Gregg L Lage DDS Apr 27, 2023

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The human body is a finely tuned machine that requires proper maintenance in order to function properly. When the body becomes stressed, it releases chemicals into the bloodstream, which trigger the “fight or flight” response. The effects of Stress on the body are wide-ranging, and these include changes to the immune system, digestion, metabolism, sleep habits, and mood.

Since the mouth is one of the ways the body eliminates toxins, Stress can have a negative effect on oral health as well. Some ways that too much Stress can impact your teeth and gums include:

  • Grinding teeth during sleep. Many people grind their teeth at night while they are sleeping. This habit can be the result of several factors, including clenching jaw muscles or misalignment of the bite. Clenching and grinding can cause the teeth to become loose over time and can even cause cracks or fractures in the enamel.
  • Increased risk of gum disease. Gum disease involves an infection of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Since stress can affect your immune system, it can also increase the risk of developing gum disease.
  • Dry mouth. Feeling nervous or anxious can sometimes lead to dry mouth. Saliva plays a big role in preventing tooth decay because it helps neutralize acids produced by the bacteria in the mouth and also washes away debris from the tooth’s surfaces. A decrease in saliva flow leaves the mouth vulnerable to bacteria and can lead to cavities.
  • Bad breath. Stress and anxiety can also cause bad breath due to increased levels of cortisol in the body. While this hormone is needed for daily functions like metabolism and memory, when it is overproduced, it can cause an imbalance of other hormones, which can lead to poor dental health.

How to Combat Stress

Stress can negatively impact your oral health in many ways. For example, when you are feeling stressed, you may neglect your oral hygiene routine. Skipping, brushing, and flossing can lead to cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss. So, be sure to brush twice daily and floss at least once daily. Visit the dentist once every six months for routine dental cleanings and exams. Avoid alcohol and tobacco use to protect your gums and teeth from disease. Eat a healthy diet filled with healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and water.

To find out more about the dental services offered at our dental practice, call (303) 427-4552 or schedule a consultation online. You can also visit us at 7475 Dakin St #335, Denver 80221.

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