Stress is your body’s response to certain stimuli, such as scary situations or criticism at work. Your endocrine system produces stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare you to react quickly to whatever is happening in your environment. They affect your blood flow, heart rate, digestion, immune system, and more.
Over time, these hormones can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections and inflammation in the mouth. This can lead to dry mouth, gum disease, and other oral health issues. It is important to find ways to manage stress and practice relaxation techniques, so you aren’t putting your oral health at risk.
Stress isn’t good for your overall health, and it doesn’t fare much better for your oral health either. In fact, stress can negatively impact many areas of oral health, from your gums to your teeth to your jaw.
Dental health is particularly affected by stress. One study examined the relationship between stress and periodontal disease. Researchers found that chronic stress increased the risk of poor periodontal health by over 50 percent.
People who are stressed also tend to neglect their oral hygiene habits. They don’t brush twice a day or floss as often as they should, and as a result, they put themselves at a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Unfortunately, when anxiety affects someone’s oral health care practices, it puts them at an even higher risk of tooth loss.
Dentists strongly recommend that patients of all ages practice good oral hygiene habits at home, limit consumption of sugary foods and drinks, and attend regular checkups and cleanings. This is the best way to keep teeth and gums healthy and reduce your risk of tooth decay or gum disease.
However, even with the best at-home care, some patients will still experience occasional toothaches while under stress. If you are undergoing a particularly stressful period in your life, try following these helpful tips to keep your teeth healthy!
If you have more questions about your oral health and how it is affected by stress, contact About Smiles at 2555 Western Trails Blvd., Suite 104, Austin, TX 78745, or call (512) 444-5577.