Stress can have a negative impact on your overall health as well as your oral health. It can affect the health of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. Stress can make it difficult for you to maintain good oral hygiene habits. It can also cause you to neglect regular dental checkups.
Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be good or bad, depending on the situation. Our body releases hormones that prepare us for action; it can help us run faster or fight harder. When we're stressed, our bodies are in overdrive and busy trying to help us. This often includes processes that can affect our oral health.
For example, when you're stressed, you may find that you clench your jaw more tightly. This can lead to serious issues like TMJ disorder with long-term consequences. You may also find that you're more likely to avoid going to the dentist while you're stressed out. This can be an even bigger problem than clenching your teeth! The bacteria that cause gum disease thrive in an acidic environment, so the longer you have untreated gingivitis or other issues, the worse they can become. It can also lead to tooth erosion, which can wear away the surface enamel of your teeth. This can leave them more sensitive and make them more likely to break. Additionally, people who are under stress are more likely to grind their teeth during the night while sleeping. This can lead to even more severe damage over time.
When the body is stressed, the stress hormones are secreted from the adrenal glands. These hormones also cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. This reaction causes the blood vessels to become constricted, and the blood flow to the extremities becomes limited. This is the body's natural response to protect vital organs and muscles while preparing to fight or flee from danger. With decreased blood flow and oxygen to the oral cavity, bacteria have a heyday feeding on the leftover sugar in the saliva. As the pH of the mouth drops due to the body's response to stress, it increases the likelihood of infections in the mouth, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and even bad breath.
Getting a good night's sleep, exercising regularly, and practicing relaxation techniques can all help to reduce the stress in your life. In addition, eating a balanced diet and getting regular checkups can also help to reduce anxiety about your oral health.
Patients can also find relief by wearing custom-fitted night guards or mouthguards to prevent teeth from grinding or clenching.
The dentists at Downtown Concord Dental can help you improve your smile. We are located at 2151 Salvio St Suite A-1, Concord, CA 94520. Contact us at (925) 566-8738 or visit our website to book an appointment with us.