Is Stress Affecting Your Oral Health?

Maybe there’s a new stressor in your life – a new job or a big move across the country, for instance – or maybe there is just always an undercurrent of stress due to everyday pressures. Stress can do a lot of damage and can affect not only your psychological health but your general health as well. And it may be affecting your oral health too!

How Does Stress Affect You?

Your shoulders and neck may feel tense and tight all the time, you may have a constant stomach ache, and you may often get headaches. And it may be affecting your teeth and gums as well, without you even realizing it. You might start to notice:

  • Gum problems. When we are under stress, our bodies release a hormone called “cortisol.” This hormone can wear down the immune system, which can make gums vulnerable to the effects of bacteria, which can cause gum disease. Gums may be swollen and they may bleed easily, and if left untreated gum disease can lead to loss of teeth.
  • Jaw problems. Stress can cause the jaw to tense up, which can be very painful.
  • Teeth issues. Some people may grind their teeth when they are stressed out and not even realize it (you may even grind your teeth as you sleep). Over time, this can crack teeth, wear them down, and make them more sensitive.
  • Poor oral hygiene. This is probably something your dentist will notice before you do! When we are stressed out, taking good care of your teeth might be the last thing on your mind. You might also bite your nails or eat more sweets than usual when you are under stress, both of which are bad habits.

There are other things that could affect your Oral Health: How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health and Is your birth control affecting your oral health.

If you are under stress, the best thing you can do for yourself – and your oral health – is to find a healthy way to deal with it and to take care of yourself. This, of course, includes a visit to your dentist if you are having problems with your teeth or gums. Contact Soft Touch Dentistry for an appointment. Call the Brighton office at (617) 782-9250 or the Newton office at (617) 332-8146 today!

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