Stress can negatively affect many aspects of your health, including your oral health. Stress can cause you to grind your teeth, clench your jaw, and neglect your teeth. It affects an individual’s overall health, including oral health. According to an article published by the American Dental Association, “high levels of stress can also contribute to short-term changes in a person’s oral condition.”
When we’re stressed, we tend to neglect our general and oral health care. Instead, we focus our attention on more immediately pressing issues. We don’t eat properly or get enough sleep. We indulge in sugary foods and beverages. And we don’t brush or floss as often or as well as we should. All of these factors contribute to poor oral health. In fact, stress is a contributing factor to gum disease, dry mouth, and other common dental problems.
When you feel stressed, you’re essentially putting your body into “fight or flight” mode. Your body directs all of its energy toward immediate survival, including your immune system. The immune system is responsible for protecting the body from illness and disease. It’s one of the reasons why people get sick during high-stress periods in their lives, such as finals week at school or work.
Unfortunately, this decrease in the immune system’s ability to fight off infection also affects your teeth and gums. Instead of fighting off harmful bacteria that cause cavities, your gums become inflamed and red. Your gums bleed easily when you brush and floss, which can lead to tooth decay. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Additionally, the same mechanism that leads you to crave junk food when you’re stressed can also lead you to skip brushing and flossing. This is because stress increases the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol suppresses the saliva glands, so you aren’t producing as much saliva as you typically would. Without adequate saliva in your mouth, food particles and bacteria aren’t removed as effectively from the surfaces of your teeth and gum line. This leads to increased rates of plaque buildup and, ultimately, tooth decay.
Many instances of stress are temporary and tend to fade after a short period of time. However, some forms of stress may last longer and become more serious. It is important to be aware of how stress can impact your dental health so you can take steps to manage it.
To learn more tips to maintain good oral health, visit Premier Arts Dental at 4400 U.S. 9 #3200, Freehold Township, NJ 07728. For any queries, call us at (732) 334 7816 or visit our website to schedule an appointment. We will be happy to assist you further.
4400 U.S. 9 #3200, Freehold Township, NJ 07728