4 Ways Stress Affects Dental Wellness

It is well-known that exposure to prolonged periods of stress can have adverse effects on your physical and mental well-being, but did you know it could also affect your oral health, too? It is true. Prolonged exposure to stress can negatively impact your oral health and cause a number of problems ranging from gum disease to mouth sores and tooth decay.

Wondering how stress impacts your oral health? Here is a look at four specific examples of ways exposure to prolonged periods of stress can negatively impact your oral health and dental wellness.

Stress can Cause Missed Dental Appointments and Skipped Daily Tooth Brushing or Flossing

Daily tooth brushing and flossing as well as attending regular dental checkups and appointments is necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Unfortunately, when you are under a lot of stress you may completely forget to take part in these necessary tasks.

How stress causes you to forget these important tasks will vary from person to person. Some people who are under a lot of stress tend to feel absent-minded. This absent-mindedness causes them to forget to schedule an upcoming dental appointment, forget to actually attend scheduled dental appointments, and even forget to brush and floss the recommended amount of times per day.

Stress can sometimes make people feel overwhelmed or anxious. These feelings can often result in missed dental appointments or failure to schedule regular dental appointments because you don’t want to experience such extreme anxiety or you feel as if the task is too difficult or complicated to complete.

Feelings of anxiousness and being overwhelmed can also result in forgetting to brush and floss on a daily basis. When you are under constant stress you may feel physically and emotionally tired. This results in you feeling as if you are physically unable to brush or floss.

Medications for Stress can Cause Dry Mouth

Some people may need to take medications, such as antidepressants and antianxiety medicines, in order to properly cope with prolonged periods of stress. While these medications may help reduce depression or anxiety caused by stress, it can cause dry mouth which is when your mouth reduces the amount of saliva produces.

Your mouth needs saliva to stay healthy. If saliva production is reduced, it could lead to numerous problems ranging from gum disease and increased tooth decay to bad breath and even mouth sores.

Stress Lower Your Immunity and Increases Your Chance of Developing Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by bacteria. For most people, their body’s natural immune system can fight that bacteria and keep gum disease away. However, if you are exposed to prolonged periods of stress your body may not be able to fight against the bacterium that causes gum disease.

Gum disease from stress won’t happen overnight. Usually, it starts with gums that appear red instead of pink or subtly bleeding while brushing. If left untreated or if exposure to extreme stress continues, gum disease can progress and cause inflamed gums, tooth decay, and even tooth loss.

People Under Stress Tend to Clench or Grind Their Teeth

Clenching or grinding your teeth is often a natural side effect of exposure to stress. While this may appear to be just an annoying habit, it can actually cause numerous dental problems. Clenching and grinding your teeth can cause everything from intense headaches and toothaches to chipped or cracked teeth and TMJ.

Do you believe stress may be causing some of your dental problems? If so, consider making an appointment at Smiles by Shields.

Smiles by Shields is a holistic dental clinic located in Jacksonville, Florida. Our holistic dentist will gladly speak to you about the impact stress is having on your oral health and provide you with tips on how to reduce stress and improve your overall oral health. Call our office today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to welcoming you to our dental clinic!  

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