Most people think of stress as something that physically happens to their body, but it’s actually the other way around – stress is something that happens as a result of something that happens to the body. Some common causes of stress include relationship issues, financial worries, and health problems or pain.
There are many physical effects of stress on the body, including digestive issues, headaches, high blood pressure, and a decreased immune system that may make you more susceptible to things like the common cold and the flu. All of these can potentially lead to problems with your oral health as well. For example, a decreased immune system can make you more prone to gum disease, a common side effect of stress. Your digestive system may be affected in such a way that you might have trouble eating foods that are good for the health of your teeth. Headaches and increased blood pressure can both cause people to clench their jaws more tightly during times of stress, which can eventually result in jaw pain or TMJ disorder.
It’s important to be aware of how stress can affect your body so that you can take steps to minimize these effects as much as possible. Try to avoid stressful situations, if possible, and seek support from friends and family if you’re going through a difficult period in your life. You can also consider participating in relaxing activities like yoga or meditation to reduce stress and help you feel better overall.
There is a strong correlation between stress and oral health. Research shows that stress can have serious effects on your oral health, from causing dry mouth to increasing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. That’s because stress increases your cortisol levels—a hormone that is known to suppress your immune system and decrease your ability to fight infection. Plus, chronic stress is linked to an increase in plaque-causing bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria can cause inflammation throughout your body, including in your gum tissues—which makes your gums more vulnerable to disease and decay. Stress also causes you to grind your teeth, which can severely damage both your smile and your jaw health. If left untreated, teeth grinding can lead to broken or cracked teeth as well as TMJ disorder – a condition that is characterized by chronic headaches or neck aches.
Managing stress can greatly improve your oral health! Consider using stress management techniques to help you keep stress at bay. Regular exercise can also significantly decrease stress levels. And be sure to keep up with your regular dental cleanings and checkups so that your dentist can catch any early signs of oral disease before they develop into bigger problems. If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, like bleeding gums or persistent bad breath, it’s time to visit our general dentistry practice.
To learn more about best practices for oral health, call Bay Area Dental at (510) 350-8187 or visit our dental office at 3300 Webster Street, #907, Oakland, CA 94609. Book your appointment with our dentist in Oakland, CA, to achieve the smile you have always wished for.