How Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

Posted by SOOS CREEK DENTAL on May 7 2023, 08:01 PM

Stress is a part of everyday life. However, too much stress can cause a variety of health problems. Stress can impact your oral health as well. 

Stress is the body’s reaction to certain internal or external stimuli, such as fear or anxiety. The body responds to these triggers with physical changes to prepare itself for a challenge. The effects of stress on oral health are many and can include dry mouth, bruxism, and even a predisposition to periodontal disease.

People who suffer from conditions that cause them constant stress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, often have worse oral health than those who are able to manage their stress effectively. People who are under a lot of stress may neglect their oral hygiene habits, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

A dentist can help patients learn how to better manage stress and prevent its effects on oral health. Patients should schedule regular checkups and cleanings with their dentist to maintain good oral health regardless of what they are feeling emotionally or physically.

How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol. This is a hormone that increases blood pressure and blood sugar. It also suppresses your immune system. As a result, you are more susceptible to illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, the saliva in your mouth decreases when you are stressed or nervous. This means that the acids in plaque are not washed away as easily, leading to increased tooth decay and inflammation. To limit the negative effects of stress on your oral health, try exercising more to manage your stress levels and practicing good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day.

How Long Does It Take for Stress to Affect Oral Health?

Some patients experience immediate effects from stress, and some may not notice any negative changes until much later on in the cycle. Factors like genetics, lifestyle habits, and the specific type of stress can largely influence how stress may impact your oral health.

Prolonged exposure to cortisol, the stress hormone, is strongly associated with inflammation in the body. This can affect several areas of the body, including the mouth. Inflammation in the mouth can cause a variety of issues ranging from minor discomfort to serious disease. For example, patients suffering from gum disease tend to have a higher overall level of anxiety and may have higher cortisol levels than patients who have healthy gums. Over time this can lead to additional complications like heart disease and diabetes.

If you are currently experiencing significant levels of stress, it’s recommended that you visit our dentist in Covington as soon as possible. We can provide a thorough examination to determine the cause of your discomfort and recommend treatment options if necessary. If left untreated, the damage caused by prolonged stress can impact your overall health and quality of life.

To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Singh by calling Soos Creek Dental at (253) 631-8241 or visiting our office located at 17615 SE 272nd St, Covington, WA 98042

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17615 SE 272nd St, Covington, WA 98042

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