Different Ways Stress Affect Oral Health

Posted by Gannon Lee on Nov 24 2022, 09:23 AM

In today's fast-paced world, it's natural to feel stressed out from time to time. In fact, many experts believe that a certain amount of stress is actually healthy as it can motivate us to accomplish goals and push us to learn new things. However, long-term or chronic stress can be harmful and can make us sick in a variety of ways, including causing oral health issues.

Link Between Stress and Oral Health

When we're stressed, we often breathe quickly and take shallow breaths. This can lead to dry mouth, which can not only cause bad breath but also damage your oral health by making it easier for plaque to form on and between teeth. Additionally, when we are stressed, we tend to grind our teeth more than usual. This habit can damage the teeth and may lead to TMJ disorder. Gum disease is also common in people with chronic stress, as the condition is exacerbated by chronic gum inflammation. If gum disease goes untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.

The mouth is very sensitive to stress, and it's easy to see how these two things are connected. If you've ever been stressed, then you've probably noticed how your mouth feels dry or itchy. You may also have noticed your jaw clenching together, or you may even have felt pain in your sinuses. These are all symptoms of TMJ disorder, which happens when the temporomandibular joint gets strained from chronic teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Chronic stress causes tension in this joint, so it's no surprise that stress wreaks havoc on your oral health.

Many patients who suffer from anxiety also suffer from tooth loss due to bruxism. This is because many people who are anxious are nervous in social situations, so they clench their jaws together in an attempt to avoid interaction subconsciously. This can cause serious damage to the teeth and can result in tooth loss over time. If your teeth become damaged from excessive wear caused by bruxism, your dentist may recommend restorative dentistry to restore the appearance, strength, and health of your smile.

Easy Ways To Manage Stress

Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce your stress levels, which can help reduce your risk for oral health problems. Regular exercise can release endorphins, which can boost your mood and reduce stress levels. Practicing yoga, meditation, and other calming activities can also help you feel more relaxed throughout the day. 

Reach out to our dental practice in Mission Viejo, CA, to have a consultation with our dentist, Dr. Lee. Please call us at (949) 380-0315 or schedule an online consultation, and we'll guide you further.

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