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How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Stress is something that most people will experience in their lifetime and many of us know the implications it can have on our well-being. But did you know that stress can have a negative impact on your oral health?

1. Gum Disease

Your body produces immune cells to protect it against harmful bacteria. However, when the body is under stress, it doesn’t produce enough immune cells. Bacteria plays an important role in the development of gum disease. Healthy gums are firm and pink. Symptoms of gum disease include, bleeding, swollen and sore gums. These symptoms would normally indicate gingivitis which is reversible. However, if it progresses into periodontal disease it is irreversible.

If you are concerned about your oral health, call us on 01723 670500 to book an appointment with one of our hygienists who will be happy to treat you and provide advice to prevent gum disease.

2. Bad Breath

There is a link between gum disease and bad breath, clinically known as halitosis. There is a buildup of plaque and bacteria along the gumline. The bacteria break down proteins and release odours. Stress can also cause you to have an irregular oral hygiene routine. You may also experience dry mouth, which is a common symptom of anxiety and stress. This significantly increases the risk of tooth decay and other diseases. Saliva helps to neutralise the acid that attacks your teeth, helping to fight tooth decay.

3. Clenching And Grinding

Individuals who are stressed may find themselves grinding their teeth a lot, whether it is during the day or while sleeping. This can cause headaches, earache and toothache. It can also cause damage to your teeth overtime, such as chipping, breaking and sensitivity.

Visit your dentist who will be able to assess your jaw and make you a nightguard to wear whilst you sleep.

4. Decay and Erosion

As a result of stress many people often turn to foods, whether it is snacking, high sugar foods or alcohol consumption. Coupled with poor oral hygiene, this can lead to dental decay and erosion.

5. Mouth Ulcer

Stress suppresses the immune system leaving your body open to diseases and infection. Mouth ulcers are a perfect example of this and although they are almost harmless, they can cause discomfort in your day to day life. Minimising your exposure to stressful situations and trying to adopt lifestyle changes can help reduce the frequency of developing ulcers.

How To Minimise Stress

Stress is often unavoidable but there are ways you can try to minimise the impact:

  • Lifestyle changes: stress can sometimes cause us to make unhealthy lifestyle choices. Limiting the consumption of sugary foods and drinks, alcohol and smoking will all help to contribute to a healthier mouth .
  • Exercise: When you exercise, you use physical activity to help relieve stressful thoughts. Any form of exercise will boost endorphins and better help you to organise your emotions in high-tension situations.
  • Develop An Oral Health Routine: Brush your teeth twice a day, once before going to bed and once at another time of day. Floss once a day, using either an interdental brush or floss. In addition, regular use of an alcohol free mouthwash will help to eliminate germs associated with gum disease.
  • Stay hydrated: A common reaction to stress is dry mouth which can cause the buildup of bacteria, leading to bad breath. If you keep your body hydrated, you will minimise your chance of developing dry mouth.
  • Talk to your dentist and make regular check-ups: Your dentist is the best source of advice and they will be able to check for any stress related issues.

If you are concerned about how stress is affecting your oral health, make an appointment with one of our dentists who will be happy to provide any treatment required and give you some advice about how you can prevent any stress related issues. Please call us on 01723 670500.