Stress is the body’s reaction to something it perceives as a threat or danger. Because our bodies can’t tell the difference between real and perceived danger, we release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to prepare ourselves for fight-or-flight responses. These reactions are meant to help us better cope with stressful situations, but if they are overused or not regulated properly, they can have a damaging impact on our health.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, higher levels of stress are linked with more serious oral health problems like gum disease. This is because increased levels of stress hormones in the body can negatively affect the immune system, which makes it easier for bacteria to get into the bloodstream and cause infection and inflammation in the mouth. Additionally, stress and anxiety can cause people to grind their teeth more than usual and eat fewer healthy foods, which can both contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
Your immune system is your body’s first line of defense against intruders like bacteria and viruses that can cause illness and infection, but it also responds to environmental and psychological stressors. When your immune system gets overworked from dealing with excessive stress or anxiety, it has trouble fighting off those invaders as well as managing inflammation caused by gum disease. The inflammation that goes untreated leads to even more plaque buildup and gum irritation that can contribute to your risk for periodontal disease.
But don’t worry - if you notice any changes in your oral health after you’ve been under a lot of stress, your dentist can help you get back on track. You’ll want to keep up with your regular checkups and cleanings, so you’re less likely to experience these symptoms in the future!
Practicing relaxation techniques can reduce stress, which can, in turn, affect your oral health in a number of ways. When stress causes you to grind your teeth or clench your jaw, this can lead to damaged teeth and TMJ problems. It can also increase the risk of gum disease by causing you to neglect your oral hygiene routine. While you may not be able to eliminate all sources of stress in your life, there are some things you can do to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night, and try to avoid situations that increase your stress level. You can also practice deep breathing and other stress-relief exercises. In some cases, counseling or medication may be helpful in reducing your anxiety.
Schedule an appointment with Premier Dental Group HI if you are looking for a dentist. Contact us from your nearest location or visit our website to book an appointment.