How Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

Posted by KIRBY SMILES May 23,2023

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Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives, but it’s important to understand how that stress can affect your oral health. There are many different types of stressors that can lead to the development of oral health issues. Some of the most commonly reported stress triggers include family responsibilities, work obligations, finances, and personal relationships. 

One of the biggest ways stress affects your oral health is by causing you to neglect your oral care routine. You may forget to brush or floss your teeth regularly, or you may skip your regular dental checkups. These behaviors can lead to the development of tooth decay, gum disease, and other symptoms of poor oral hygiene. Additionally, some people may turn to unhealthy coping strategies like smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs to cope with their stress. All of these coping methods can wreak havoc on your oral health – they increase your risk of periodontal disease and can increase your risk of developing oral cancers in your mouth. If you’re feeling stressed due to any of these factors, talk to your dentist about healthy coping mechanisms for your stress. Your dentist can help you form a plan to deal with any stress-inducing behaviors you have that could potentially damage your oral health.

Effects of Stress on Oral Health

When the body is under some sort of stress, hormones are released to help cope with the problem at hand. This “fight or flight” response causes things like increased heart rates and increased blood pressure. Besides these physical side effects, there are also several mental effects as well. People under stress often experience negative thinking patterns such as pessimism and helplessness, which can lead to a weakened immune system. Decreased immunity can lead to an increase in the risk of common infections, including gum disease.

In addition, many people under stress don’t eat as well as they should. This means they are more likely to be deficient in vitamins and minerals that are necessary for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Deficiencies in Vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and iron can all weaken tooth enamel and lead to decay or sensitivity.

To help prevent the effects of stress on your oral health, try to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest. It is also important to practice good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing twice a day. These steps will reduce the number of bacteria and plaque in your mouth, which can help prevent periodontal disease.

If stress is affecting you, be sure to tell your dentist about it. They can create a customized treatment plan that will help you manage stress and reduce your risk of oral problems.

To learn more about our dental services, visit Kirby Smiles at 3695 Kirby Dr. Suite 129, Pearland 77584, or call 281-941-5488.

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