How Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

How Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

Posted by Dr. Daniel Vasquez May 11,2023

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Stress can take a toll on your health. It can adversely affect your physical health, including your oral health. Stress can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of periodontal disease. It can also increase your risk of bruxism or teeth grinding. It can also increase your risk of certain oral cancers.

Managing Stress With a Healthy Diet

The connection between stress and your oral health may not seem obvious at first. But it is important to understand how these two areas of your health are connected. The reason is that stress can make us crave unhealthy foods, which can lead to poor oral health and weight gain over time.

Stress affects so many aspects of your life, including your mood, your sleep patterns, and even your appetite. When you are stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. This hormone is responsible for many physical symptoms, including higher blood pressure and inflammation, but it is also responsible for stimulating your appetite. This means that when you feel stressed, you may feel the need to eat something salty or sweet because it alleviates some of your stress symptoms. When you feel stressed, make sure that you are eating well and getting enough sleep so that you don’t feel as vulnerable to unhealthy cravings. Eating right and sleeping well will help reduce stress levels and keep your overall health in balance. Something else you can try is chewing gum. Chewing gum helps to stimulate saliva production, which prevents you from feeling dry mouth when you are talking, laughing, or even chewing. A dry mouth can lead to bad breath, so keeping your mouth moist can prevent you from developing bad breath due to stress.

Reduced Saliva Production

When we’re stressed out, we tend to unconsciously clench our jaws and grind our teeth together. This constant jaw clenching and grinding can wear down teeth and cause sensitivity or pain. It can also cause gum recession and bone loss around the teeth. It’s important to identify stress and reduce it as much as possible to protect your oral health.

A decrease in saliva production can be another symptom of stress. Saliva washes away bacteria and food particles to help prevent tooth decay. It can also reduce acid levels after meals and prevent tooth enamel erosion. If your mouth is dry more often when you’re stressed, try chewing sugar-free gum to increase your saliva production and flow. You can also sip on water throughout the day to help rinse away unnecessary bacteria and keep your teeth clean. Water can also help relieve some tension surrounding anxiety.

Grinding Your Teeth

If you’re stressed, you might notice yourself grinding and clenching your teeth. This can lead to serious problems with your teeth. Teeth grinding places pressure on the teeth that can result in enamel damage and even tooth loss. In addition, it can place excessive wear on the tooth’s biting surfaces and lead to jaw pain. If you grind or clench your teeth, talk to your dentist about treatment options such as mouth guards and stress management tips.

Contact Vasquez & Associates Dental Office if you have any questions. You can schedule a consultation by calling (760) 529-5339 or visiting us at 3601 Vista Way Ste 105, Oceanside, CA 92056. 

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