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How Stress May Affect Your Oral Health

Posted by Dr. Bird on Nov 9 2022, 07:17 AM

Stress can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health as well as on your oral health. It has an effect on your eating habits, which can result in tooth damage. Stress also leads to grinding your teeth, which can wear down the enamel. 

Biological Effects of Stress on the Body

During times of stress, the body releases chemicals into the bloodstream that increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Over time, high glucose levels can be harmful to blood vessels, nerves, gums, and bone structure in the mouth. If left unchecked, chronic stress can lead to gum disease or tooth loss.

Additionally, the surge of hormones that occurs with stress can cause inflammation throughout the body, which can also adversely affect oral tissues. Inflammatory conditions like periodontal disease can progress more quickly in patients with chronic stress.

Chronic stress is also linked to higher rates of bruxism or using teeth to grind teeth during sleep. This can lead to wear to the enamel, which can cause gum recession and other oral health issues that require restorative treatment.

If you are suffering from the effects of chronic stress, speak with your dentist about ways to manage your stress and its effects on your oral health.

How High or Low Stress Can Impact Oral Health

Some people handle stress very well, while others suffer from extreme anxiety. Regardless of which category you fall into, you should be aware of how stress can impact your oral health. Some patients find that when they feel stressed, keeping up with their oral hygiene routine is more difficult than usual. While it’s important to maintain proper oral health care regardless of how you’re feeling, it’s even more important if you have trouble handling stressful situations.

For example, if you struggle with daily stressors, you may end up skipping brushing and flossing your teeth more often or be encouraged to use tobacco products, which will only increase your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. On the other hand, if you’re a person who finds yourself in high-stress situations more often than not, you may deal with frequent headaches, jaw pain, or even chipped teeth. Without properly caring for your teeth and gums, you could wind up dealing with severe damage to your oral health.

To avoid these potential issues, be sure to keep up with regular checkups and cleanings so that our dentist can monitor the health of your gums and teeth. That way, we can catch any problems early when treatment is simplest and provide recommendations to help you keep your smile healthy and vibrant.

Common Signs of Stress-related Gum Disease

Gums that bleed when you brush or floss may be a sign of periodontal disease, a common complication of unmanaged stress levels. You may also notice symptoms of dry mouth, such as sore throats or difficulty swallowing at times when stress is high. As your saliva flow decreases, plaque and bacteria build up faster on your teeth, increasing your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. In addition to causing tooth damage, untreated, periodontal disease has been linked to other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.

By practicing stress management techniques and visiting your dentist regularly for preventive care exams and cleanings, you can help protect your oral health. An electric toothbrush with a built-in timer can help you stick to a regular brushing routine. A mouthguard may also be recommended for those who tend to grind their teeth at night due to high-stress levels. Talk to your dentist about other ways to keep your smile healthy during stressful times.

Visit us at Paradise Family Dental, 4900 Paradise Way, Suite 104, West Richland, WA 99353, to learn more about our dental procedures. Call us at (509) 581-0626 to book an appointment. 

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4900 Paradise Way, Suite 104, West Richland, WA 99353

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Phone: (509) 581-0626