How Does Stress Affect Your Oral Health?

Posted by Dr. Soto Mar 02, 2023

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Stress could be good or bad. Good stress could be anything from planning a wedding, finishing a tough exam, or finishing a race. Bad stress, however, could be anything from losing a job, going through a breakup, or facing an illness.

Any type of physical, emotional, or mental strain can cause you to experience stress. This type of reaction causes your body to react physically in ways that can be harmful to your teeth and gums.

When stressed, you may grind your teeth unconsciously during the day, and your sleep cycle may be disrupted, causing you to only be able to get minimal rest each night. Over time, constant sleep loss and grinding can wear down your tooth enamel, possibly leading to cavities. You may also experience jaw pain due to clenching your jaw more tightly when you become stressed. This can harm your temporomandibular joint, which can impact your ability to chew and speak properly. It can also potentially lead to headaches and earaches.

Because stress is so common, it's important that you take steps to protect your smile. You can begin by practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing to relieve stress when you are feeling tense. You should also try to avoid stimulants that can cause you to feel agitated, such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.

Stress Affecting Your Teeth and Gums

If you tend to clench or grind your teeth when you're stressed, you may start to feel some jaw pain or sensitivity. Over time, this can cause tooth damage like cracks and chips. You may also notice other oral issues like bleeding gums or sores on the inside of your cheeks. If you're under stress, try to avoid these behaviors and practice relaxation techniques.

Sometimes you may not be able to control the stress in your life. If your job is stressful, try to take some time off every now and then to relax and recover. Even taking a day off here and there can help your body relieve stress.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Stress Levels

Take a deep breath! It may sound like a simple thing to do, but taking deep breaths has been proven to reduce stress and tension in the body. Even just spending a few minutes a day practicing deep breathing can have you feeling better about yourself and your life in no time! In addition to improving your mental health, reducing stress can also help you improve the health of your mouth. That's because stress can be a major cause of tooth grinding—which can cause damage to your teeth and jaw. Reducing your stress levels can help relieve the tension in your jaw and protect your teeth from damage.

If you find yourself dealing with stress often, you may want to consider seeing a therapist. Not only can a counselor help you with stress management, but they can also give you advice on other lifestyle factors that may affect your health, such as your diet or exercise routines. Sometimes it can be helpful to seek out the advice of a professional, so you can develop healthy ways of coping with stress.

To learn more, visit Dr. Ernie Soto at 10187 Cleary Blvd. Suite 103, Plantation 33324, or call (954) 368-626.

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