The Effects of Stress on Oral Health

Stress is a normal part of life. However, too much stress can be damaging to both your mental and physical health and your oral health. Stress can weaken your immune system, making it more difficult to recover from infection. It can also increase your risk of gum disease by elevating the hormone levels in your body, which increases the risks of developing gum disease.

What Is Stress?

The term “stress” has a variety of meanings and interpretations, but from a biological standpoint, it’s defined as the body’s physical response to any demand or pressure experienced. It can come from a variety of sources – both physical and mental – and can manifest in both positive and negative ways. On the negative side, the physiological changes experienced through stress can potentially cause all sorts of health issues ranging from cardiovascular disease to chronic back pain. On the more positive side, however, the body also has the ability to adapt and overcome stressful demands by initiating a relaxation response. This can allow the heart to slow down, muscles to relax, mood to improve, etc.

Regardless of which side of the spectrum stress falls on, it can certainly have a negative effect on your oral health as well. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of stress are more likely to develop gum disease, cavities, and other oral diseases than those with lower levels. This is largely due to the fact that when the body is stressed, hormones are released into the bloodstream, which can then affect the health of the gums as well as the salivary glands. When these glands become too active due to prolonged periods of stress, they can create increased amounts of saliva which can lead to inflammation of the gums and even tooth decay. 

How Stress Affects Oral Health

When we’re stressed, our body produces hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol that trigger our “fight or flight” response. During times of stress, we may breathe more rapidly and take in more oxygen. This increases the production of saliva and increases the amount of bacteria in the mouth, which can cause inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease. Studies show that people who have high-stress jobs are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Other studies have also shown a connection between stress and teeth grinding, which can cause tooth damage as well as jaw pain and headaches. Over time, clenching or grinding can wear down the biting surfaces of the teeth and irritate the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects your lower jawbone to your skull.

This is why it’s so important to practice good oral hygiene habits every day in order to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. This means brushing and flossing twice a day, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash, and making regular trips to the dentist for checkups and cleanings. By maintaining optimal oral health, your body will be better prepared to handle any stressful situations that come your way!

If you’re looking for even more information, feel free to schedule a consultation with us! We’d love to meet with you and discuss your oral health needs in more detail. To learn more about our practice and team, visit our website at https://www.davidpowelldds.com/ or call us at (801) 266-1414.

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