Ways Stress May Affect Your Oral Health

Ways Stress May Affect Your Oral Health

Posted by Anthony G Corbo on Nov 17 2022, 05:16 AM

Stress is a normal human reaction to certain situations. However, when stress becomes excessive or overwhelming, it can have adverse effects on your health. When it comes to your oral health, stress can leave you with broken or chipped teeth, bad breath, and damaged gums.

Stress and Oral Health

Stress is a normal part of life, but too much of it can be harmful to your health in many ways. The act of smiling when you're stressed can actually be detrimental to your oral health. When you're feeling angry or upset, you tend to clench your jaw and grind your teeth together, which can quickly wear down the enamel on your teeth and cause tooth sensitivity or more serious issues like TMJ disorder. You may also subconsciously clench your jaw throughout the day without even realizing it, which can have the same effect as grinding your teeth. Over time, clenching your jaw can lead to chronic headaches as well as worn-down teeth that may require restorative treatment to fix.

In stressful situations, your body kicks into fight-or-flight mode and releases adrenaline to prepare you to handle the stressful situation. Since you're only supposed to be in this mode for a short period of time, your body doesn't bother telling your organs to take a break so they can recover. As a result, your heart rate increases, your immune system functions less effectively, and your mouth's saliva production decreases. Saliva protects your teeth and mouth from disease, so it's important for your dry mouth symptoms to be treated promptly! The last thing you want is to deal with cavities or gum disease due to untreated dry mouth. 

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, some types of stress can lead to mouth sores or canker sores. These sores are small ulcers that appear in the mouth, often as a result of biting the inside of your cheek or eating something hard or acidic. While they're usually harmless, they can become painful if they grow too large or if your immune system is involved. 

How is Stress Managed?

If stress is causing you to experience symptoms of an oral health issue, consider speaking with a therapist to learn ways to manage stress in healthy ways, so you avoid additional side effects. You can also focus on practicing good oral hygiene habits at home so you can reduce your risk of complications in the future.

Schedule an appointment with Anthony G Corbo, DDS, to learn more about our dental services. Head over to 13101 Old Sheridan St, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33330. Contact us at (954)434-2234 or visit our website to book an appointment.  

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