What Ways Do Stress Affect Oral Health?

What Ways Do Stress Affect Oral Health?

Most people experience stress from time to time, but prolonged periods of stress can have a negative impact on your dental health. In fact, some research indicates that people with higher levels of stress may be more likely to suffer from gum disease. This is because stress can cause you to grind your teeth or clench your jaw, which can lead to tooth damage. It can also make it more likely for you to neglect your oral hygiene routine, which raises the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health problems.

Stress and Your Teeth

While stress affects everyone differently, it’s common for oral health to take a turn for the worse when you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you’re feeling stressed about an upcoming dental appointment, don’t worry! Our friendly team is here to ensure your visit is pleasant and comfortable. In the meantime, here are some things to keep in mind about your dental health when life gets stressful.

When you’re under stress, your body releases cortisol, which can be harmful to your teeth if present for extended periods of time. Cortisol causes your mouth to produce more saliva than usual, which can dry out the soft tissues in your mouth and make them more susceptible to bacteria and decay. Additionally, the temporary increase in blood pressure that occurs during moments of stress can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infection. Finally, stress can increase your cravings for sugary foods and drinks, which can cause cavities and tooth decay. 

Stress and Your Gums

When you’re stressed, your body responds by releasing hormones that can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. If it’s not properly handled, this can cause inflammation in your body, which can worsen your gum health by causing bleeding or irritation. This can then lead to an increased risk of developing gum disease, which has been linked to other serious health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. 

Manage Your Stress

So when you’re feeling stressed out, be sure to try these stress-relieving tactics to help relieve any tension you’re feeling in your teeth and gums:

  • Exercising regularly can help release endorphins which can help relieve stress and reduce anxiety. Even just taking a walk for 30 minutes a day can make a big difference in your stress levels and health.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth hydrated and help wash away bacteria and food particles that lead to plaque buildup and cavities.
  • Limit the amount of sugary drinks and foods you consume to prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth and causing additional damage to your teeth and gums. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet as well to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and strong.
  • Get into a good sleep routine. Getting enough rest can help keep you focused, relaxed, and calm during the day so you can handle stressful situations better and have a lower risk of falling ill due to contracting a virus or germ.
  • Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or even reading a book to take your mind off of the situation for a moment and help you relax. Consider seeking the assistance of a therapist if your stress is becoming too much to handle with these techniques alone. A therapist can give you the tools needed to cope with your stress and move your life forward in a positive way.
  • Talk to friends and family about what you’re going through and express your feelings and concerns to them. Having someone to talk to can help you feel supported and give you some healthy ways to vent your emotions.

To find out more about the dental services we offer at DTLA Smile, Los Angeles, CA, call (213) 688-2828 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit Dentist Los Angeles, CA, at 104 West 7th St, #2 Los Angeles, CA, 90014.

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