The Impact of Stress on Dental Health

Cosmetic Dermatology (2)Most people don’t tend to associate their dental issues with stress, but stress can be both a direct and indirect danger to your dental and oral health.

Stress as a Direct Cause

Your body naturally reacts to stress in a myriad of ways, and some of those ways manifest in your mouth. Stress has been proven to directly cause

  • Canker and cold sores
  • Bruxism (clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth)
  • A dry or burning mouth
  • Susceptibility to mouth infections

Canker and cold sores, dry mouth, and burning mouth are mostly a nuisance. They’re not directly dangerous to you or your body, but they can be very uncomfortable.

The tension that is inherent to stress causes your muscles to clench, including your jaw muscles. Your jaw muscles are some of the strongest in your body, meaning that when they clench and grind your teeth you, can force serious misalignment in your mouth.

Stress isn’t necessarily a direct cause of infection, but it’s worth mentioning here because of how severely stress weakens your immune system. You’re more likely to get gum diseases, or even develop mouth cancer.

Diminish your stress, and you instantly diminish the chances of these dental issues.

Stress as an Indirect Cause
Stress indirectly causes dental issues because of external behaviors in which you might engage. That is, you’re more likely to have coping mechanisms that contribute to the decay of your dental health. Some examples include:

 

  • Chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes
  • Drinking more high-sugar drinks like soda and alcohol
  • Eating more junk food
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Neglecting habitual dental care

 

These coping mechanisms are effective at reducing stress, but they create an environment in your mouth that is prime for tooth decay and other dental issues. If your stress persists, you’re more likely to continue in these negative habits.
Managing Stress to Promote a Healthy Mouth
Everyone experiences stress, even extreme stress, at different points in their life. A regular routine can help reduce stress and improve overall healthy.

Establishing routines that promote your well-being has always been the key to long-term stress management. Some key habits include:

 

  • Eating well and exercising
  • Getting sufficient rest and sleep
  • Scheduling time for having fun
  • Managing your time well

 

Making these habits automatic is the best way to fight off stress.

Worried that you won’t take care of your body or teeth? Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor and dentist. Can’t remember to brush your teeth at night? Leave a toothbrush on your pillow.

If you want to see a dentist to do a full evaluation of your dental health – from your cleaning habits to the external circumstances that impact them – call to arrange an appointment with Dr. Tamura today!

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