Stress is a normal part of life and can even be healthy in small doses. Still, chronic stress has been linked to many health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. It can also wreak havoc on your oral health. Most people are aware of how stress can cause problems with their overall health. However, you might not be aware that it can harm your teeth too. Here are three ways that stress can affect your oral health:
Teeth Grinding: Chronic stress may lead to teeth grinding. If you grind your teeth at night, this can wear down the enamel and lead to sensitivity. You can also suffer from headaches, jaw pain, and earaches due to teeth grinding.
Dry Mouth: People who are stressed often experience dry mouth. Not only does this make bad breath worse, but it can also lead to tooth decay and other oral health problems.
Gum Disease: Stress has also been shown to contribute to gum disease. When your body is under stress, it can make the blood vessels in your gums constrict, thereby restricting blood flow. If left untreated, you may eventually lose gum tissue and even bone structure.
When you are stressed, your body produces hormones that can affect the way your immune system works, which can lead to issues with your teeth and gums. One hormone associated with stress is cortisol. Cortisol increases the amount of glucose in your system, and it also suppresses the immune system. This can allow bacteria and plaque build-up on your teeth, which can eventually lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Increased levels of cortisol can also increase your risk of gingivitis or periodontitis. These conditions cause your gums to become inflamed, which can make your gums bleed easily during brushing. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce stress and improve your quality of life. Taking up meditation or yoga, practicing deep breathing, and getting lots of exercises are all great ways to keep stress at bay. By reducing stress and treating it with healthy lifestyle choices, you can improve your smile for years to come.
If you are suffering from any symptoms of stress, you should talk to your local dentist about treatment options. It is also important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine at home and to visit the dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and checkup.
Stress can negatively impact all facets of your life, including oral health. While occasional stress is natural, ongoing stress can lead to serious oral health problems.
If you’re interested in learning more tips to tackle stress affecting oral health, call our dentist today to schedule a consultation. You can call us at (209) 554-1700 or visit our clinic located at 1317 Oakdale Rd Suite 310, Modesto, California 95355.