Stress is everywhere, and it can affect your mood, your health, even your oral health. Stress is our body’s reaction to a change that requires an adjustment or response. Stress can come from both good and bad situations. It can be financial stress, work stress, relationship stress, or even hormonal stress.
Stress can wreak havoc on your physical well-being, and your oral health is no exception. Some of the most common effects of stress include dry mouth, increased plaque buildup, inflamed gums, and jaw clenching. These effects can cause or exacerbate issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and even temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
Stress and anxiety are normal feelings that happen to everyone from time to time. However, when stress and anxiety start to interfere with your normal quality of life, it may be time to seek help. When stress becomes overwhelming, it can actually cause physical reactions in your body such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, and dry mouth. All of these symptoms can negatively impact your dental health! Tooth decay can occur more easily. More severe causes of stress, like panic attacks or a generalized anxiety disorder, can make you prone to grinding your teeth in your sleep. This can wear down the surface of your teeth and cause tooth sensitivity. Many patients with underlying mental health issues may also avoid going to the dentist for regular cleanings and exams because they are nervous about their condition being discovered. This can lead to additional complications that could have been avoided with proper dental care. Talk to your dentist about ways to manage anxiety before your next appointment so they can provide the best possible care for you.
Patients who experience stress often do not practice proper oral hygiene habits. For example, they may be less likely to brush or floss their teeth as frequently because they feel too rushed or too busy to devote the time needed to do so. Additionally, they may consume more sugary foods and drinks when stressed as a way of self-medicating in an attempt to relieve their anxiety. These behaviors can result in oral health problems, including tooth decay and gum disease.
Stress can also have a negative impact on your immune system, which makes it more difficult for your body to fight off infections like oral inflammation. As a result, you may experience more frequent or severe flare-ups of certain common mouth sores, such as canker sores and cold sore outbreaks. This can lead to a greater risk of complications like dental abscesses if left untreated.
In addition to causing you to neglect your at-home oral care routine, stress can also cause you to grind your teeth at night while you sleep. Over time, this habit can wear down your enamel and lead to sensitivity. It can also result in tooth damage, such as a cracked or chipped tooth.
For all of these reasons, it is important to take steps to reduce stress whenever possible in order to enjoy better oral health. You may need the help of a therapist, counselor, or other professionals who can help you learn to manage your stress in a more positive way. You may also find that exercising regularly can help relieve stress and improve your overall well-being.
Our staff at Woodruff Family Dental is available to assist you and your entire family in taking care of your oral health. Call (870) 972-8190 to schedule your appointment as soon as possible. Come see us at 2800 Enterprise Cv, Jonesboro, AR 72401, or send us an email.