Stress is a part of everyday life, and, to a certain extent, it’s normal. However, when stress becomes chronic, it can have a negative impact on your oral health. Stress and anxiety can significantly impact your oral health. When your body experiences stress, it releases hormones that trigger an inflammatory response. This inflammation can increase your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
When something triggers your stress response, your body is flooded with stress hormones. These hormones are secreted by the adrenal gland and regulate many bodily functions like blood pressure, heart rate, or glucose balance.
The stress response is a normal part of your natural response mechanisms to physical and emotional threats. However, being constantly bombarded with stressors can exhaust you and make you more vulnerable to illness and other health problems. Your body does not distinguish between a physical threat and a psychological one when it releases stress hormones.
Dental professionals often link stress to poor oral and overall health. Although science has yet to determine the definitive causes of gum disease, one common cause is stress. When the body is in a chronically stressed state, it releases hormones that can increase inflammation in the body, which may manifest in the mouth as gingivitis or periodontitis. Stress can also impact your immune system’s ability to fight off infection, which can contribute to tooth decay and cavities as well.
When you are feeling particularly stressed out, take a moment to focus on your breath. Your breath will mirror how your body is responding to your environment. If your mouth is dry and you can’t seem to produce any saliva, you may be experiencing dry mouth as a result of stress. To combat this, try chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate the production of saliva. This can help temporarily relieve symptoms of dry mouth, but to address more long-term solutions, speak with your dentist about optimal ways to take care of your teeth.
Reducing the amount of cortisol in your body can help reduce the negative effects it has on your oral health. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and improve your overall health. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day can help improve sleep quality and reduce stress. Additionally, try to limit the amount of caffeine and sugar you consume, as these can exacerbate the effects of stress on the body.
Visit Gallery 32 Dental Arts at 3580 Piedmont Road NE, STE #104, Atlanta, GA 30305, or call (404) 255-6929 to learn more about dental procedures. Our dentist will work with you to help you determine the best option for your condition.