Can Stress Affect my Oral Health?
- Posted on: Sep 24 2018
Stress can have a negative impact on many different aspects of your health, so it should come as no surprise that it can also harm your oral health. In this blog, the dentists at Concerned Dental Care in NY explain how stress can affect your oral health and what you can do about it:
How can stress affect your oral health?
Stress has been linked to the following problems with your mouth, teeth, and gums:
- Mouth sores: cold sores or canker sores (small spots with a white or grayish base and a red border)
- Teeth grinding and jaw clenching: also known as bruxism, teeth grinding and jaw clenching can lead to tooth damage
- Gum disease: long-term stress can interfere with your immune system and make you more susceptible to gum disease
- Dry mouth: your mouth can produce less saliva when you’re under stress, and some anti-depressants can also cause dry mouth
- Lichens planus: characterized by white lines, sores, and ulcers and may be linked to viral infections that are caused by stress
- Poor oral hygiene: stress can cause you to neglect at-home dental care and not think about making regular dental appointments
- Poor nutrition: choosing sugary foods and drinks can contribute to the growth of bacteria, possibly resulting in more cavities
How can you take care of your oral health and reduce stress?
These tips can help you maintain your good oral health even when you’re stressed:
- Prioritize your oral health: Make sure to brush and floss and visit the dentist regularly.
- Use a night guard if needed: If you grind your teeth in your sleep, talk to your dentist about wearing a night guard.
- Don’t pick up bad habits: It’s easy to turn to tobacco or alcohol when you’re stressed, but these substances can further harm your oral health.
- Stay active: Get moving to help reduce your stress levels.
- Get plenty of sleep: A lack of sleep can make you feel more stress.
- Eat a healthy diet: Too many carbs and sugary foods can serve as food for harmful cavity-causing bacteria.
- Learn relaxation strategies: For some people, taking a walk or doing yoga can help, and for others, deep-breathing exercises or meditation can have a calming effect. Experiment to find out what works for you.
- Get professional help if you need it: If you’re struggling with long-term stress, anxiety, or depression, talk to your doctor or a counselor to help learn coping strategies and/or to see if medication may be helpful.
To learn more about how stress can affect your oral health, make an appointment today with Concerned Dental Care of NY by calling us at 800.583.9285. We have convenient locations and provide gentle, compassionate, quality dentistry at affordable prices.