Thanks to unexpected incidents happening everywhere, dealing with stress can be hard and affect the body, including your oral health. With the hectic lifestyle of our world nowadays, stress is a normal concern for everyone. A specific amount of stress can be beneficial, since it may help you feel more awake and energetic. However, stress becomes a negative when you start dealing with challenges or hardship repeatedly without respite or relaxation.
Effects of stress
Stress may ultimately start to affect your overall and oral health. Scientists have discovered multiple associations between stress and the oral health issues listed below.
Examples of mouth sores are cold sores or canker sores, and one of the primary causes of mouth sores is emotional stress.
Teeth grinding and clenching
Stress causes constant anxiety and overthinking, which has impacts on sleep and may cause you to clench or grind your teeth. If you feel stressed before bedtime and experience headaches upon waking up, you may be experiencing teeth grinding.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder
Temporomandibular joints are the joints located right below the ear that move the lower jaw. Swelling and stiffness in the joint is a TMJ disorder and may be signaled by pain, popping and clicking. Stress is the leading cause of TMJ disorders.
Poor oral hygiene
If you are dealing with lots of stress and are overwhelmed with work, you may suddenly discover you are often too busy to brush your teeth or floss frequently.
Poor nutrition caused by stress can result in a deficiency of vitamins and nutrients required to keep the body healthy.
Stress makes it more challenging to combat infections in the body. Gum disease affects the gums and can cause loose teeth, bad breath and bleeding gums. Stress can also worsen gum disease if it makes you grind or clench your teeth more or smoke cigarettes. If you are suffering from severe gum disease, a visit to the dental specialist is necessary.
Stress is one of the primary culprits of dry mouth. You may suddenly feel your mouth dry up before a long appointment or presentation, for instance. This reduces the production of saliva in your mouth, and saliva is incredibly beneficial to oral health, including being the mouth’s natural cleanser. Dry mouth syndrome is more widespread in women after menopause, which means hormonal changes may contribute to it. Stress-induced smoking and drinking may worsen the situation. It is possible to treat dry mouth syndrome with antidepressant drugs and stress counseling.
Missing routine dental appointments
Stress may cause you to miss your regular dental appointments because you have so much to do.
- Get sufficient sleep
- Go to the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups
- Discover relaxing methods of handling your stress
- Maintain proper oral hygiene at home
- Remain active — exercise is beneficial for stress
- Consume a healthy, balanced diet
If you are worried about the impact of stress on your oral health, reach out to a dentist for help.