Stress affects many areas of our lives. It can feel like the walls are caving in around us when we’re stressed. Stress is not always a bad thing. It can motivate us and help us meet deadlines and accomplish goals. Stress is usually a temporary situation. However, it can affect our oral health. Stress and anxiety can cause some people to grind their teeth. This can result in worn-down teeth, jaw pain, and headaches.
Stress and Oral Health
Stress isn’t necessarily unhealthy on its own, but it certainly can take a toll on your oral health. While stress itself doesn’t directly hurt your teeth, it can exacerbate problems that are already present in the mouth. For example, if your teeth are sensitive due to decay, the discomfort caused by sweets may only make the problem worse. However, there are also some direct effects of stress on oral health.
Stress can cause people to neglect their dental hygiene practices. People under stress may forget or choose not to brush their teeth as often and thoroughly as they otherwise would. They may also eat less healthy foods that are high in sugar and other cavity-causing foods. As a result, they can experience an increase in cavities and gum disease when stress levels are higher. In addition to brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, it is also important to visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
Studies have shown that people who are stressed often experience headaches, jaw pain, and tooth sensitivity. The effects of chronic stress on your teeth can be worsened by grinding or clenching your teeth at night, which puts excess force on your jaw muscles and teeth. This can lead to the development of the temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which is a condition that causes chronic pain in the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. Over time, this can lead to misalignment of your jaw, as well as severe pain and discomfort. People who grind their teeth or have TMD also have a higher risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease, so it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
In addition, the hormone cortisol is triggered when you’re under stress, and it increases inflammation throughout the body, including your gums. This can cause your gums to bleed and potentially recede from the roots of your teeth.
How to Reduce Stress
There are many things you can do to relieve stress and keep your oral health in check at the same time! Start by making sure you get enough sleep every night, and try to take a cat nap or spend some time with your feet up during the day to keep yourself energized. You should also make sure you set aside time for healthy indulgences like walks through nature, massages, and spending time laughing with friends. If you have anxiety in your life, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about how to find relief. Don’t ignore problems, either. If you have an aching tooth, go see your dentist right away to avoid bigger issues down the road.
Schedule an appointment with Foxfield Dental to learn more about good oral health. Visit us at 16350 E Arapahoe Rd Unit #114, Foxfield, CO 80016. Contact us at (720) 870-0401 or visit our website to book an appointment.