Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

The feeling of stress is the body’s response to an impending threat or danger, whether that’s a real or perceived one. Stress can manifest in a number of different ways and can range from mild tension to a full-blown panic attack. In healthy individuals, it can be beneficial; it can keep you alert and focused during high-pressure situations. But too much stress can be harmful to your body — especially your dental health.

How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

Stress may seem like a minor inconvenience, but it can have real and harmful consequences when it comes to your oral health. When you’re under stress, your body has a difficult time regulating its hormones. This can cause the fluctuations of hormone levels in the body to impact the health of tissues throughout your body, including your teeth and gums. When these fluctuations occur, they can impact your oral health in a number of different ways and cause a number of issues for your teeth. Some of the most common issues caused by stress include the following:

Dental erosion: Erosion is when the surface of teeth wears away due to the acids produced by oral bacteria. Acids wear away the protective enamel on teeth and cause tooth sensitivity and pain. The mouth can become more prone to tooth decay when eroded due to weakened enamel. All forms of eating disorders can increase the chances of erosion as well.

Tooth decay: The body’s bloodstream distributes your mouth’s saliva throughout the different functions of the body. This includes circulating through the bloodstream, where it then delivers essential nutrients to the tissues throughout the body. However, during times of stress, the body prioritizes getting nutrients to the brain rather than other parts of the body. Because of this, the mouth gets less of the necessary amount of nutrients and is more susceptible to the development of cavities in the teeth.

Dry mouth: Saliva is an important part of maintaining healthy teeth because it washes away bacteria and food particles from the surface of the gums and teeth. Without sufficient amounts of saliva in the mouth, it’s much easier for those bacteria to remain on the surface of teeth and irritate gum tissues. This can lead to the development of gum disease, which can cause irritation and even tooth loss.

Bruxism: Bruxism is a common condition among patients suffering from anxiety or sleep disorders. This condition involves clenching the teeth together at night or even during the day and can lead to hairline fractures in the teeth. 

How Can You Manage Stress?

There are many ways to relieve stress besides practicing yoga or taking a walk in nature. Some studies have suggested that meditation can be effective at reducing stress levels as well. This relaxation technique focuses on breathing, clearing your mind, and relaxing your muscles. Some people use meditation along with aromatherapy to relax even more deeply. If you’re feeling stressed, try taking a few minutes to meditate and focus on your breath. It might help you feel calmer and more grounded.

Contact ELAN Dentistry for the best dental care. To book an appointment, call (714) 364-8181 or visit us at 1030 West Imperial Hwy, La Habra, CA 90631.

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