Too much stress can have a negative effect on our well-being. Aside from making us feel tired and irritable, it can also cause our overall health to deteriorate, which can affect our dental health as well.
- Stress and Dental Health
People often react with surprise when they hear links exist between stress and dental health. Stress is not necessarily bad, as some stress can help us feel alert and energised, especially if we get an opportunity to rest afterwards. When we get too stressed without also receiving enough rest to balance it out, however, our oral health can suffer.
- Problems Occurred by Stress
Stress can lead to a variety of unwanted problems. These can manifest in many ways depending on how stress impacts our behaviour. Some oral health problems that can occur due to too much stress include dry mouth, teeth grinding, poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition, teeth clenching, cold sores, and missed dental appointments.
- Mouth Dry
Stress can cause a decrease in the production of saliva. Saliva is vital to promoting optimal oral health. It helps to remove food particles from the mouth and neutralise acidity. Saliva also contains enzymes that help with digestion and the moisture it provides aids swallowing. Saliva also lubricates the mouth, making easier to talk and eat.
- Grinding of Teeth
Teeth grinding is a common habit of stressed individuals. This can lead to sore jaws and the degradation of teeth. People who go to bed constantly stressed can wake up with headaches due to teeth grinding in their sleep. A mouth guard is helpful to prevent this.
- Poor Oral Hygiene
People who are under a lot of stress can often forget to look after their teeth. This can cause them to stop brushing and flossing. This can lead to plaque build-up caused by bacteria and even tooth decay.
- Poor Nutrition
An unhealthy diet can deprive us of essential vitamins and minerals needed for oral health. Stress can cause people to forget to eat, or it can drive them to make poor food choices when they do eat. Without calcium and vitamin D, teeth become weak and brittle.
- Clenching of Teeth
People often clench their teeth when stressed. This can occur without them even realising it. For example, people clench their jaws during a pause in conversation or during an examination.
- Canker Sores or Cold Sores
Physical or emotional stress can cause cold sores or canker sores to appear on or around the mouth. Doctors don’t yet fully understand the pathophysiology of their occurrence. However, some experts theorise that stress suppresses the immune system, allowing the bacteria or viruses that cause them to initiate an outbreak.
- Missing Regular Dental Appointments
When people get too stressed, they often forget to remember upcoming events. Missing dental appointments can lead to delay action for oral conditions that need treatment. It can also keep dentists from detecting potential problems before they get worse. Make it a point to schedule another appointment with a Dentist Milton Keynes if you missed your last one.
How to Deal with Stress
People deal with being too stressed in different ways. Getting more rest is one good way to reduce your stress level. Sleep is an important component of rest and getting enough is essential. Other ways to rest include making time to read books or watch a light-hearted movie.
Doing some light exercise can also help to reduce stress. Use exercise as an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature to improve its effectiveness even further. Laughter and social interaction can also help you de-stress and relax.
Sometimes you need to deal with the cause of your stress head on. If there is a task you have been ignoring, that might be stressing you out. Taking the time to complete it can reduce your stress levels.
Susan works at Oxford House Dental Practice, a pioneer in quality dentistry since its establishment in 1954. With its large, private car park, familiar exterior, friendly attitude of surgeons and the full range of dental treatments, it is a well-known dentist in Milton Keynes.