How Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

How Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

Posted by Smyrna Dental Group Mar 29, 2023

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Stress is a common part of life. Everyone experiences stress at some point. Some people cope with stress by snacking or smoking. Others exercise, drink tea, or meditate. Over time, stress can take a toll on your oral health. It can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of gum disease. Stress can also cause you to clench or grind your teeth, which can lead to tooth damage. Pay attention to how you’re feeling throughout the day so you can reduce stress when you can help preserve your smile.

How Stress Affects Your Mouth

When facing stress, the body releases stress hormones, which trigger biological responses in the body that prepare it to fight or flee. This response prepares your body for a stressful situation by decreasing blood flow to non-essential parts of your body and increasing your alertness and ability to focus. However, when released for too long, these hormones can cause a lot of damage to your health, including damage in your teeth and gums.

When people are stressed, they tend to experience a lot of physical discomforts. Toothaches are no exception. In fact, when a person is under stress, the nerves in the jaw react more strongly to pain signals that are sent to the brain. The heightened response can manifest as increased sensitivity to hot and cold, a dull aching sensation, or sharp pain. Stress can also cause people to grind and clench their teeth, which wears down the teeth over time. People who grind and clench their teeth can also suffer from Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), which can lead to headaches and neck pain.

It can be difficult to avoid stressful situations completely. Make a point to practice relaxation techniques when you feel stressed out. This can include breathing exercises, meditation, or taking a walk outside. These activities can help you feel calm and relaxed. You might also find it helpful to talk to your family and friends about your worries so you feel more supported and less stressed. Try to minimize stressful events as best you can, such as putting off a home repair or cutting back your work hours if your job is too demanding. You can also find ways to reduce other stressors in your daily life that are causing you to feel constantly rushed and overwhelmed, such as delegating tasks to others so you don’t feel overwhelmed trying to do everything yourself.

If you are interested in learning more about our services, call Smyrna Dental Group in Smyrna, TN, at (615) 355-6800 to schedule an appointment with our dentists or request an appointment online.

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