How Stress May Affect Your Oral Health

How Stress May Affect Your Oral Health

Posted by BAY SMILE DESIGN on Nov 10 2022, 10:46 PM

Stress is the body’s response to a specific stimulus that disturbs your physical or psychological equilibrium. There are many different types of stressors, including environmental, physiological, and psychological stressors.

When the brain perceives a threat, it releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones trigger a physical response in the body known as the “fight or flight” response. The heart rate increases, the blood vessels constrict, and the digestive processes slow down. For humans, the primary response is to fight or take flight away from the source of the stressor. However, in some people, the response may cause them to freeze up and not take any action at all. This is known as being “stressed out.”

Link Between Stress And Oral Health

Stress can have a number of negative effects on your body, and your mouth is no exception. In fact, research shows that the mouth is a likely target for the effects of high-stress levels on the body as a whole. It can even lead to complications like dry mouth syndrome. Here are some ways that stress can affect your oral health.

High levels of stress can affect the hormones in your body that control everything from your mood to your appetite to your menstrual cycles. When these hormone levels change, they can have an impact on your health in general, including your teeth and gums. For example, when you’re stressed, you may be more likely to crave sugary foods and drinks, which can cause tooth decay. When you’re also dealing with other risk factors for cavities, such as poor oral hygiene or a diet high in sugar, this can make your teeth even more vulnerable. Additionally, stress can suppress your immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight off infection, including an infection of the gums called gingivitis. It can also lead to sleep disturbances, which can affect your oral tissues by promoting inflammation and increasing your risk of gum disease. Interrupted sleep is also linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes, which can also affect your oral health.

Individuals who experience chronic stress may experience a number of negative effects on the body, including the oral cavity. Some common symptoms of stress may include gum disease, dry mouth, mouth ulcers, frequent headaches, TMJ disorder, and more.

Minimize Your Stress

If you are feeling stressed, there are several steps you can take to reduce your stress levels and improve your oral and overall health.

First, make time for self-care. This includes eating healthy foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals and exercising regularly. Consider trying meditation and yoga as well.

Second, be sure you get enough sleep each night. Adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to also set yourself up for a good night of rest.

Third, find ways to relax that is right for you. Whether it’s reading a book, watching your favorite TV show, or going for a walk in nature, find an activity that you can turn to when you need a break from the stress of daily life.

To learn more about how to combat the effects of stress on your health and well-being, call (408) 830-0123 for an appointment or visit our office at 1298 Kifer Road Suite #501, Sunnyvale, CA 94086. Our dedicated dentists and staff will gladly take care of you!

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