Stress has an effect on nearly every part of your body, including your mouth. To put it simple, stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. Whether it’s the anticipation of a doctor’s appointment or an upcoming work deadline, our bodies will let us know that something needs our attention. This can be good news if we’re anticipating exciting plans with friends but not so good if our stress levels are through the roof because of financial struggles or relationship difficulties.
While everyone experiences some stress on a day-to-day basis, some people experience more due to life circumstances beyond their control. For example, a recent divorce or a job loss can cause quite a bit of stress and strain on your body. This can even have an impact on your oral health! In fact, it can make you more susceptible to developing gum disease or cavities. This is because stress causes you to neglect your oral hygiene routine - sometimes for days at a time! When you’re stressed, you can find yourself drinking larger amounts of coffee or energy drinks to keep yourself awake. Unfortunately, these beverages can be extremely acidic and lead to tooth enamel erosion as well as discoloration. You may also forget to bring distractions with you to work to keep your mind off of things. As a result, you may forget to brush your teeth after lunch or before you go to bed. Without proper brushing and flossing, you can develop gingivitis when plaque builds up between your teeth and along the gumline. Over time, this can lead to periodontitis and even tooth loss.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to help relieve your stress and prevent it from damaging your teeth and gums.
Stress can affect your mouth in many ways. It can weaken your immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight off infection. This means that if you’re going through a stressful period in your life, you’re more likely to experience oral health issues as a result.
Stress can also cause you to clench your jaw or grind your teeth at night, which can cause damage to your teeth and jaw muscles. If you’re experiencing pain in your jaw or teeth, talk to your dentist about ways to reduce the stress in your life so that you can protect your oral health.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, it’s important to see your doctor about how to best treat your symptoms. Some medications can increase the risk of dry mouth, which can lead to cavities and bad breath.
If you are interested in learning more, call our office at (225) 261-0043 to schedule an appointment today! We would be happy to get you on the schedule and help answer any questions that you may have.