How Stress Affects your Dental Health
Posted on 6/11/2015 by Brandon Cooley
|Stress is bad for your body - we all know that. But did you know that it is bad for your dental health too? Too much stress can cause you to suffer a variety of oral health issues that can be debilitating. If you are under stress, you should be aware of these issues that can occur and find a proper way to handle your stress so that you are not a victim of these issues in the future.
Stress Causes Teeth Grinding
If you are under a lot of stress, your loved ones might tell you that you grind your teeth at night. In addition to waking up with headaches and/or tense muscles in your neck, you could be doing damage to your teeth. Grinding your teeth can lead to temporomandibular disorder; weakened enamel; uneven teeth; and crooked teeth. Depending on the severity of the grinding and the length of time that this occurs, you could do serious damage to your mouth. As a temporary fix, we can fit you with a mouth guard to stop the grinding, but you should find ways to manage your stress to eliminate the risk all together.
Stress Lowers your Immune System
Stress makes your body less able to fight off illness and disease. When your immune system is lower, you are at higher risk for gum disease. This disease, which occurs below the gum line can be debilitating if it reaches the advanced stages. Rather than letting your immune system suffer, find a way to handle the stress, such as walking, talking to a friend, intense exercise, yoga, or seeking therapy.
Stress Medications Cause Dry Mouth
Many medications that assist with the ability to handle stress, such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, have the undesirable side effect of drying your mouth. When this occurs, you are not producing adequate saliva, which can be very bad for your oral health. Without saliva, the bacteria in your mouth resides in your mouth rather than being washed away. This puts you at risk for decay and gum disease, both of which can be detrimental to your oral health.
Stress Clouds your Thinking
Stress, depending on its severity, can make you shirk on your normal responsibilities. If those responsibilities that are ignored include your oral hygiene habits, your teeth will pay the price. Many people that suffer from depression or anxiety are less responsible about keeping up with their oral health habits, such as brushing and flossing on a regular basis. This puts your mouth at risk for a variety of issues, including tooth decay and gum disease. Even if you brush your teeth regularly, but avoid flossing, you are still putting your mouth at risk.
Stress Causes Bad Habits
Stress oftentimes makes people do things they would not normally do. A few of the most common bad habits performed due to stress including biting your nails, chewing on pencils, chewing on ice, and eating unhealthy foods (sugar and carb filled snacks). Each of these habits puts your oral health at risk and should be avoided at all costs.
If you are under stress, it is important to figure out how to get them under control. In the worst case scenario, you should seek counseling in order to eliminate the stress. If you are able to manage it on your own, find the techniques that work for you and stick with them. Your physical and oral health depend on your ability to handle the stress son a daily basis.
If you are in need of ways to deal with the stress that is affecting your oral health, call our office for an appointment today!