Stress & Oral Health

 In oral health

Stress is something that we cannot escape in today’s day and age. Whether it comes from our work life; home life; or just personal life – it always has a negative spin off. Health issues often arise as a result of stress, and then we tend to stress because of our health issues. Seems like a catch-22, doesn’t it?

The most logical solution is to fix the problem that is causing the stress; when that isn’t an option then we fix the problem caused by stress. What oral health problems may stress cause? Does it even have a real effect of oral health? How will we know that it is caused by stress and not by other factors? These are all Important questions to consider.

The Effect of Stress on Oral Health

When a person is stressed their body is undergoing many changes, hormones are being released in order to deal with the situation. This reaction by the body has a negative spin off on your overall health, including your oral health. Stress can be the result of habits that are bad for your oral health and hygiene, such as constant teeth grinding and clenching; neglected oral hygiene routine; poor diet and nutrition intake; as well as missed dental appointments. These things can cause even bigger problems for patients. Some of the more serious concerns would include:

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

This is caused by constant teeth clenching. This condition often occurs as a result of stress – overly worrying about a matter. Often a patient who suffers will unknowingly clench their teeth through the night.

Dry mouth

Halitosis can be caused by a dry mouth. Suffering from bad breath on a permanent basis can be very difficult to handle. Many people wont even realise that this is a stress related condition and can be treated. This is why honest and open communication with your dentist is vital.

Periodontal Disease

There has been a lot of research done around periodontal disease and its relationship with stress. The results have shown how hormones released in stressful situations have a negative impact on periodontal health. Cortisol, this hormone, is responsible for lowering the body’s immune system. To make the matter worse, many patients resort to alcohol, tobacco and bad eating habits in attempt to combat stress. All these factors combined lead to Periodontal disease.

Ways to Combat Stress

Obviously, because stress has a direct effect on oral health, it is wise to consider ways to prevent it. One way to minimise and manage stress in your daily life is to consider trying relaxation techniques. Other than that, getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthy will have a huge impact on your anxiety levels. Oral hygiene should never be forsaken – daily oral care and regular dental visits will prevent these problems from occurring and will destress a person.

Stress really is a monster that attacks us on a daily basis. If you are living in this world then you most probably well acquainted with stress and the effects of it. More specifically, if stress is not managed then it can have a very negative impact on oral health – as seen above. Problems such as dry mouth, teeth clenching and periodontal disease can have devastating results if not treated. In most cases, many people do not even realise that they are sufferers of periodontal diseases. Keeping this in mind, regular dental appointments are essential. If these problems are avoided then stress levels can decrease. So, if you are someone who is known to be a stressful person, ensure that you are seeing your dentist at least twice a year – in that way you can avoid even bigger, more stressful problems.

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