We will all feel stressed in our lives, but when it feels like we’re chronically stressed, it can take a toll on our health. Unfortunately, that includes our oral health too. If you’re stressed, here are the ways it can affect the health of your mouth and smile.
Stress is how our body responds to pressure. Many different situations we find ourselves in can cause us stress. It can be triggered more often when we experience something new or unexpected that makes it useful like we don’t have control over the situation.
The way we respond to being stressed varies from person to person. Our ability to cope well with stress can depend on a number of factors like our genetics, things that happened in childhood, our personality, and our social and economic circumstances.
When we experience being stressed, our bodies produce stress hormones that activate our immune system and trigger a ‘fight or flight’ response. Both of these things help us respond quickly to dangerous situations. While this can be beneficial in certain circumstances, too much stress can negatively affect us. We can become overwhelmed and unable to cope, eventually having our mental and physical health affected — even the health of our mouth.
With too much stress, we can experience problems with our oral health. The following oral health problems are signs that your dentist will be able to tell that you are experiencing high levels of stress:
Canker sores are small spots that will appear white or gray and have red borders. They can show up in pairs or in larger numbers. While experts aren’t sure on what exactly causes them, it’s been thought that it’s an issue with your body’s immune system. Stress affects your immune system, so it’s said that stress likely raises your chances of developing sores in your mouth. Cold sores, or fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus. When you’re feeling stressed or upset, you can trigger an outbreak of cold sores that can appear on or around your lips.
Stress can make you clench and grind your teeth anytime of the day, without you even realizing it. Your dentist will be able to see signs of clenching and teeth grinding during your examination. If you already clench or grind your teeth when you’re not stressed, this can make the habit worse. It can even begin to cause issues with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the jaw joint. Lowering stress can help you clench and grind your teeth less. However, depending on how frequent you do it, you could benefit from a mouth guard to protect your smile.
Another way your dentist can tell you might be under stress is if you aren’t practicing good oral hygiene at home. When overly stressed, our moods can be affected. We can become greatly unmotivated to do daily hygiene tasks, like brushing and flossing our teeth. If you aren’t taking good care of your teeth and gums, you risk developing dental health problems like cavities and gum disease. Further, when you’re stressed, it can be hard to maintain a well-rounded diet. When we’re feeling anxious, we tend to reach for the sweet snacks and drinks, which only increases our chances of dental health problems.
If you are feeling overwhelmed often, follow these tips to try to lower your stress levels:
If you find that you’re not coping well with your stress at home, seeking help from family, friends, or a therapist is also a good option that can help bring your stress down.
Don’t let stress affect your oral health. If you find that your oral health is suffering because of your stress, make an appointment with Mountain Aire Dentistry today. We will help you learn more about how you can protect your smile from the negative effects of being stressed.
When you visit our Broomfield dental office, your smile is our top priority. Our Dentists invite you to experience the difference a warm and caring team can provide for you and your family. Enjoy a unique and comfortable dental experience designed to bring a healthier and happier smile back into your life. We invite you to call or visit our Broomfield dental office and discover the exceptional difference we offer to those we serve.