Does Stress Contribute to Poor Oral Health?

Dentist in Arcadia
Chances are you already know that stress can affect both your physical and mental health, but did you know it can also negatively affect your oral health? The last few years, people worldwide have experienced increased stress levels due to the pandemic and changes to their daily routine. Unfortunately, this stress may be contributing to oral health concerns you may not consider, but chances are your dentist is seeing the signs. If you are experiencing any of these conditions, it is important to reduce your stress, as well as see your dentist in Arcadia regularly to avoid serious complications.

If left untreated, stress can contribute to many different health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even obesity. But stress can also contribute to a variety of different oral health concerns. Some common stress-related oral concerns include the following:

Lack of Oral Hygiene

When people experience significant stress, they often begin neglecting self-care. While you may think this won’t really make much of a difference, the truth is neglecting your regular oral hygiene routine can lead to gum disease and cavities.

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Do you often wake up with a sore jaw or headache? Have you had more cavities than normal? Chances are you could be suffering with bruxism, or teeth grinding. Studies show that stress is a major trigger for teeth grinding. Grinding your teeth can wear down the tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth fractures. Long-term grinding can flatten and wear down the surface of your teeth. If you have crowns or fillings, regular grinding can damage them.

While often connected to bruxism, clenching the jaw when stressed is often very common. This increased stress on the jaw muscles can lead to jaw pain, facial and neck pain, as well as tension headaches which can lead to TMJ (temporomandibular joint)disorder.

Reducing your stress can often stop mild bruxism, but if it continues, your dentist in Arcadia may suggest a mouthguard to wear at night to protect your teeth from further damage.

Dry Mouth

If you have noticed that your mouth seems dryer than normal, you are not alone. Stress and anxiety can trigger different things in the body that ultimately dry out your mouth. These can include:

  • Mouth Breathing – Breathing through your mouth is common when you experience stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, the air you bring in dries out the mouth.
  • Acid Reflux – Those that experience problems with acid reflux can see an increase in symptoms during times of stress. This acid can affect your salivary glands and reduce saliva production.
  • Medications – Medications used to treat anxiety often related to stress can have side effects, including dry mouth.

While dry mouth may seem nothing more than an inconvenience, the truth is your saliva plays an important role in your oral health, washing away bacteria that can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. If you experience dry mouth when stressed, consider increasing your water intake and sucking on sugar-free candy to help stimulate saliva production.

For those patients who experience facial pain, the most proactive solution is to schedule an appointment with a dentist immediately. If you have any questions or concerns about stress and how it is affecting your oral health, schedule an appointment with the highly reputable dentist in Arcadia, Dr. Farahmand, DMD of OF Dental Care at 626.254.1948 or visit www.OFDentalCare.com to learn more about the top-notch dental care we provide all of our patients.

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