How Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

How Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

Posted by Misako Hirota on May 13 2023, 09:23 AM

Stress is a normal part of life. Everyone experiences stress at some point. However, too much stress can have a negative impact on your body, and your oral health is no exception. Stress can affect your oral health in more ways than you might realize. As a result, it is important to manage stress to maintain optimal oral health. 

People experience stress for a variety of reasons, such as work, family, or financial troubles. Unmanaged stress can cause a variety of health issues, including an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of stroke. It can also affect your oral health. 

How Is Stress Related to Oral Health?

During periods of high stress, the body undergoes several physical reactions in order to cope with the situation at hand. These reactions include heightened blood pressure and heart rate, increased respiration rate, muscle tightening, and even sweating. While these reactions to stress can be helpful in emergency situations, they can also cause long-term health problems if kept in motion for too long or too often.

That is why it is important to manage stress by practicing good stress management techniques. Common ways to relieve stress include exercising regularly, taking time to relax, and getting enough sleep every night. Additionally, you can practice using positive coping mechanisms like meditation, journaling, and talking to a therapist when necessary. Exercising for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day can also help reduce stress, as can participating in group therapy.

Stress can also affect your oral health because when you are stressed out, it is often harder to stick to a good oral hygiene routine. You may find yourself skipping brushing or flossing more than normal, which can lead to gum disease over time. Furthermore, when you are stressed, you are more likely to clench your jaw and grind your teeth at night, which can wear down your tooth enamel and cause jaw pain. You will also likely suffer from dry mouth as a result of your body producing more saliva when under stress. A dry mouth can cause bad breath as well as increase your risk for cavities and gum disease.

How Are Oral Health Issues Caused By Stress Treated?

When stress is the culprit behind oral issues, patients should visit their dentist for treatment. If the patient is experiencing frequent or severe jaw pain, the dentist may prescribe a strong painkiller to reduce the discomfort until the underlying issue can be treated. In addition, the dentist may recommend more frequent appointments to manage the issue immediately. If the issues are recurring, the patient may benefit from wearing a night guard to protect the teeth from clenching and grinding during sleep. The night guard will also protect the teeth and jaw from damage caused by sudden tooth movement caused by stress and anxiety.

Not addressing underlying stress that is causing oral health problems can lead to further complications for many patients due to issues such as bruxism (teeth grinding) and TMJ disorders. To prevent these problems, patients should schedule regular check-ups with their dentists so they can ensure their teeth remain in good health.

A visit to your dentist in National City, CA, is the perfect way to start your journey to better oral health! Call M.Hirota, DMD, at (619) 474-4695 today to schedule your next appointment or make your next new patient appointment online. We look forward to helping you achieve a healthier, happier smile!

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