Stress Awareness Month: Can Stress Affect Your Oral Health?
Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand that affects you physically and emotionally. It can contribute to many overall health problems. This includes your oral health too.
People who suffer from stress and other mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, are more susceptible to developing dental problems. Learning your body’s early warning signs of stress can help you take the right steps to keep your oral health in good condition.
Oral Conditions Caused by Stress
Poor oral hygiene
People who do not keep up with their oral hygiene daily can end up with tooth decay or gum disease.
Jaw issues, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), can lead to severe pain and discomfort in the jaw and surrounding areas.
Often triggered by a dental treatment, stress, and sunlight, cold sores can be treated with medication.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can happen during the day when concentrating but often occurs while sleeping. Many people grind their teeth unconsciously, which can eventually damage the enamel and cause headaches.
Decreased immune response
People with weakened immune systems can cause stress that might lead to periodontal gum disease or gingivitis.
Grinding or clenching your jaws can cause your teeth to crack, inflicting serious pain. This could require expensive treatment to fix.
Oral infections and sores
Oral herpes simplex virus can cause severe flu-like symptoms, or no symptoms at all. The sores can occur on and around the lips and mouth area.
Stress is a normal condition marking the body’s reaction to external factors. The body reacts to a flight or fight response when under stress, so getting to the root of the problem is vital to your oral health. Chronic stress and oral health can prove damaging over time, but there are measures you can take to reduce your stress level.
Steps to Reduce Stress and Oral Symptoms
Talk to your dentist
It is important to discuss with your family dentist your stress and oral health care. This will help your dentist to better formulate a treatment plan to better manage your dental care.
Address teeth grinding
Ask your dentist about getting a custom-fitted night guard to help prevent damaging your teeth by grinding and clenching. A night guard will function as a cushion to remove stress placed on your oral muscles and joint tissues.
Engaging in daily exercise is known to be a stress reducer.
Eat a healthy diet
Monitoring your diet and resisting sugary foods and drinks can help to reduce the negative effects stress can have on your oral health.
Avoid tobacco products and alcohol
Tobacco products and alcohol can increase stress making your oral symptoms dramatically worse. They can also hinder your overall health leading to serious diseases.
Read also: Sports Drinks and Oral Health
If pain is left untreated, it can cause severe stress. Learn to manage your pain through gentle massage, physical therapy, or pain medications.
Stress is also known to cause dry mouth, which inhibits the natural production of saliva. Saliva is the mouth’s primary defense against bacteria therefore, any stress caused increases the risk of tooth decay, oral infections, and periodontal disease.
The bottom line is that any reduction in stress will likely lead to better overall oral health. In addition, it is alright to seek help to lower your stress levels for your oral and overall health.
Read also: How Your Dental Health Affects Your Body
If you are concerned about your oral health, contact Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri. Dr. Maestri is a family dentist in Lafayette, LA, who is familiar with the impact stress has on your oral health. Our team can work with you to help alleviate any stress-related dental conditions.
With over a decade of experience, Dr. Maestri proudly helps her patients to make better decisions that will impact their oral health. Dental health is just good sense and leads to a beautiful smile that can change your life.
Make an appointment today with Maestri Dental, the family dentistry in Lafayette, LA, who you can depend on for all your dental needs.