How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

Stress is a normal part of life. However, when stress becomes overwhelming, it can have a negative impact on your oral health. Stress impacts many parts of your life. It can cause sleepless nights, headaches, and pain in your jaw. Stress can also increase your risk of gum disease.

Common Causes of Stress

There are many things that can cause stress in our lives, and many of them are unavoidable. However, there are things you can do to help reduce your stress levels. These include getting enough sleep each night, staying hydrated with plenty of water every day, exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting regular checkups and cleanings with your Boise dentist. These will help keep your teeth clean, which will keep your oral health in its best condition. It will also help prevent cavities and gum disease caused by excess plaque buildup on your teeth. Finally, it will prevent you from feeling the aches and pains that come with tooth decay or an infection that has gone untreated for too long. Having good oral health means fewer trips to the dentist for problems that are easily preventable with good home care!

Effects of Stress on Oral Health

Some common signs of stress are grinding and clenching teeth, persistent headaches or migraines, dry mouth, and jaw pain. These signs can be warning signs that your body is experiencing excessive levels of stress. Your dentist can help you understand if what you’re experiencing is a symptom of daily stress and a potentially serious health problem if it persists.

There are three main ways in which stress affects your oral health:

Poor Nutrition

When you experience stress, your brain signals your adrenal glands to release epinephrine, a hormone that can stimulate appetite. While eating provides a temporary sense of comfort and relaxation, it can also be detrimental to your overall health. Eating sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay by feeding the bacteria that cause cavities. Even healthy foods can contribute to poor nutrition when consumed in excess. Tooth decay can lead to painful infections of the teeth and gums that require extensive treatment. If you are experiencing severe tooth pain or sensitivity, talk to your dentist to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

Stress often leads to an increase in inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation impairs the body’s ability to fight infection and increases the likelihood of developing gum disease. Symptoms of mild gingivitis include swollen and tender gums, bleeding during brushing, and persistent bad breath. If left untreated, gum disease can cause gum recession, bone deterioration and may even lead to tooth loss.

Sleep Disruption and Fatigue

The mind and body are deeply connected, and stress can have an impact on sleep habits and contribute to fatigue and exhaustion. Lack of quality sleep affects the immune system and increases the risk of infections. In fact, studies show that people with insomnia have an increased risk of developing several chronic health conditions, including cancer and diabetes. 

How to Manage Stress

When we’re stressed, our whole body goes into fight-or-flight mode. Our heart rate rises, breathing quickens and blood pressure rises. This stress response is fueled by the release of adrenaline and other hormones that prepare our body for action. While this response helps us survive dangerous situations by boosting strength and speed, it can be damaging to the body when constantly activated.

When you’re feeling stressed, your body is already prepping for the fight-or-flight response. If you’re already experiencing the effects of this response from the environment around you, then your body isn’t going to respond well to any additional stressors. This is why it’s especially important to practice relaxation techniques so that you won’t be dealing with the constant effects of fight-or-flight.

It’s also helpful to avoid high-stress environments whenever possible. When possible, remove yourself from stressful situations. Practice deep breathing without holding your breath for long periods of time. Take some time out of your day to sit down and read a book or watch your favorite movie. Practicing self-care is a way to show your body that you appreciate all it does for you and that you’re prioritizing your well-being.

To find out more about the dental services offered at Ustick Dental Office, call (208) 375-8720 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit the dentist in Boise, ID, at 9733, W Ustick Rd, Boise, ID 83704.

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Phone: (208) 375-8720



9733 W Ustick Rd, Boise, ID 83704

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