It is widely known that stress directly contributes to a multitude of medical conditions, such as indigestion and migraines. However, you may not have known that it can affect your oral health too! Yes, stress can affect your gums, teeth and mouth, which in turn affects your overall well being and health. If you are currently experiencing stress at a concerning level, you should pay extra care and attention to your oral health to avoid long-term problems.
Can stress affect your oral health?
Research has shown that stress is associated with burning mouth syndrome, dry mouth, bruxism (teeth grinding), canker sores, poor dental hygiene, gum disease and TMJ. Gum disease is the most serious problem you should be aware of. As stress builds up over time, the levels of one’s stress hormone, cortisol, increase and weakens the immune system. Once this occurs, plaque and bacteria have a higher chance of invading your gums. Long-term stress, if left untreated, can quickly lead to periodontal disease.
Effects of stress on your oral health
One of the most severe and common effects stress can have on you, is that it can make you neglect your oral health regimen. Individuals who are under high levels of stress tend to ignore their routines of maintaining a healthy slate of oral health. They may not floss or brush as often. Additionally, they might pick up and restart certain bad habits such as smoking, living on an inadequate diet or abusing alcohol. Studies have also shown that starchy and sugary foods are consumed more during stressful times, and that leads to issues such as tooth decay.
Gender and stress
Recent research continues to suggest that women experience more stress than men. Since stress has been shown to affect oral health, this can also suggest that women might be more prone to suffer bad oral health when they are stressed. That is why women, more so than men, should be more concerned with their dental health during stressful periods.
Protecting your oral health is of utmost importance
It is inevitable that busy working professionals like yourself will hit stressful times. But keep in mind that gum disease can be avoided and prevented from the start. If you are currently experiencing stress at a level that is above average, you should take preventive measures immediately to reduce it and protect your precious oral health. Here are some important reminders to keep in mind and make sure you adhere to them daily:
• Bring a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to work. Do so when you know you will be working long hours that day
• Floss daily after brushing
• Brush at least twice a day
• Ensure that you get as much sleep as you can
• Maintain an active lifestyle, which should include exercising regularly
• Maintain a balanced diet
• Visit your dentist on a regular basis
To learn more about how oral health impacts overall health, go here: http://www.readytosmile.com/complete-health-dentistry/