How Stress Harms Your Oral Health

Stress Harms Your Teeth

Got stress?

If you’re feeling it, you’re not alone. 76% of adults said they experienced health impacts due to stress in the prior month, according to the American Psychological Association

And the forecast calls for increasing stress in 2023. According to the American Psychiatric Association, + 26% of respondents anticipate they’ll be more stressed in 2023.

Stress is unfortunately a fact of life, but in today’s times stress levels are at all-time highs. With the mounting stress of the world, an on-going pandemic, and the added day-to-day stress of our multi-tasking lives, it’s no wonder.

Stress Harms Your Teeth

Living with on-going stress impacts our mental health and it causes physical issues, as our bodies absorb and manifest the increased tension in different ways – from back aches, stomach issues, to…our oral health. Stress wreaks havoc on your teeth and gums.

5 Ways Stress Harms Your Oral Health

  1. Teeth Grinding
    It’s a dental symptom of stress that’s on the rise, but most people don’t know they do it because a lot of teeth grinding happens during sleep. Chronic teeth grinding will damage your teeth, your sleep, your health, and your wallet. Not sure if you grind your teeth? Look for these 6 Signs!
  2. Dry Mouth
    On-going stress and anxiousness can reduce your saliva flow, which is crucial for removing food particles from your teeth, remineralizes enamel, and helps fight off cavity causing bacteria. When your saliva “dries up” it allows plaque to build up and it increases your risk for dental issues like tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Overuse of alcohol and tobacco will also promote dry mouth.
  3. Infections + Gum Disease
    Studies show that increased stress has harmful effects on your immune system. It can weaken your body’s ability to fight off various infections and diseases. This can lead to the progression of advanced gum disease, which is bad for your teeth, and your overall health. Why? The oral bacteria that causes gum disease can reach organs throughout your body, including the brain or the heart. Here are some of the serious health issues linked to gum disease.
  4. Neglecting Oral Hygiene
    Not taking better care of yourself is often a by-product of increased stress. This can lead to spending less time on your oral hygiene routine – brushing, flossing, teeth cleanings + dental visits, while you crave “comfort” foods high in carbs, sugar, and caffeine. Ultimately, it’s a combination that won’t make your teeth and gums happy. You may experience more cavities, bad breath, gum disease, and even tooth loss. It’s important to try to keep up with your at-home oral hygiene (and routine dental visits!) even in times of stress. Who needs the additional stress of dealing with of oral health problems?!
  5. Teeth Clenching
    Tensing your muscles is a coping mechanism that helps protect your body from injury and pain. Stress can cause us to clench our teeth throughout the day. As your stress levels increase, you might  start  teeth clenching throughout the day, and when you sleep. This constant muscle tension in your jaw can cause serious jaw disorders such as TMJ. Its symptoms may include jaw pain, on-going headaches, tooth sensitivity, difficulty opening your mouth or chewing food. It is actually one of the most commonly diagnosed jaw disorders that affects millions of people. Unfortunately, most people don’t know they suffer from it, because they’ve never been properly diagnosed.

Lean On Us to Reduce Oral Health Stress

While we can’t take the stress of the world off your shoulders, we can take the worry of your oral health off your plate. And you can rely on us to make sure that your dental visits with us are painless and as pleasant as possible.

If you’ve been feeling stressed lately, you’re not alone – we’re all in this together. When it comes to your teeth, we’ll be your team to restore them to their optimal health and to protect them during these stressful times.

Don’t let stress harm your beautiful smile. If you notice signs of teeth grinding, clenching or sensitivity please call us at (206) 524-1000 to schedule an exam and consultation, or request your appointment here.

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