The Link Between Stress and Oral Health

The Link Between Stress and Oral Health

Posted by RAND CENTER FOR DENTISTRY Apr 18, 2023

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Stress affects the entire body, including the mouth. Stress can make it difficult to eat, which can result in a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Stress can also cause teeth grinding, which wears away at the enamel. Stress also encourages the body to produce more cortisol, a hormone that increases blood sugar. When blood sugar increases, so do the risk of tooth decay.

The definition of “stress” is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” Everyone experiences some form of stress at some point in their life, but for some people, stress on their teeth can be chronic or even daily. This can have a negative impact on the health of a person’s teeth and mouth.

There may be certain events that cause individuals to feel stressed. For example, the death of a loved one, financial troubles, major life changes like a divorce, illness, or relationship problems may all trigger feelings of stress. While these events can be difficult to deal with, they can also cause physical side effects in the body as well.

Different people deal with stress and experience different symptoms as a result. Some common symptoms are headaches, fatigue, trouble falling asleep, difficulty concentrating, irritability, changes in appetite, muscle tension, and jaw pain or soreness. If any of these symptoms are prolonged or interfere with normal functioning, there could be an underlying cause that is causing the stress.

Stress, especially chronic and ongoing stress, can cause a wide range of issues for a person’s oral health, including dry mouth, gum disease, cavities, and even tooth loss. This is because chronic stress impacts the immune system and the hormones in the body. These effects can weaken a person’s teeth and gums, leaving them more susceptible to infection, damage, and other complications. For this reason, it is important for those who suffer from ongoing and chronic stress to find a way to manage it effectively. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” By taking measures to prevent damage to teeth caused by stress, people can keep their smile and oral health intact for years to come.

How to Lessen the Effects of Stress on Oral Health?

  • Reduce stress as much as possible. For instance, you can cut out negative people in your life and avoid stressful situations. If that’s not possible for you, think of ways to relax your mind and body. Meditation and yoga are two great examples.
  • Take care of your health in general. Consuming healthy foods and getting enough exercise can help to keep your body and mind healthy. This can help reduce the negative effects of stress on the body as a whole.
  • Sleep well at night. A lack of sleep can make the body more susceptible to the damaging effects of stress.
  • See your dentist often for preventive care. Your dentist can look out for signs of stress throughout your oral health care routine and provide you with the care that remedies any damage it may cause to your teeth and gums. This helps to maintain good oral health and reduce the chance of complications in the future.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of stress-related disorders. These include jaw pain, tooth grinding, mouth sores, dry mouth, and bad breath. When these signs arise, consult with your dentist. He or she may be able to help you get the treatment you need to relieve your symptoms.
  • Practice good oral hygiene habits every day. Brush your teeth twice per day and floss once per day to remove bacteria and harmful plaque from your mouth. This will help to protect your overall health as well as the health of your teeth.

Our dentists at Rand Center for Dentistry in Flanders, NJ, provide the best dentistry solutions and the best dental care for patients. To learn more and schedule an appointment, call (973) 370-8917.

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