Stress is a common part of life. It can be caused by work, school, family, friends, or money. While a little stress can be good, too much can cause a variety of problems. Stress can result in headaches, upset stomach, insomnia, muscle tension, and even teeth grinding. Stress can also affect your oral health.
Our bodies react to stressful situations by going into a fight-or-flight response, releasing hormones that prepare the body to take action. The body may then experience a rise in blood pressure and heart rate. As these levels increase, they place strain on the body and organs like the heart. The release of stress hormones may also suppress the immune system, as cells become preoccupied with dealing with the crisis at hand. Vasoconstriction is induced by an increased secretion of adrenaline and the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which narrows the blood vessels so that blood can rush to the extremities to enable action. As a result, blood flow to the mouth decreases. This can cause dry mouth and bad breath. In addition, it can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. With less blood flowing to and from the gums, they are deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Plaque buildup can occur more quickly as a result, and acid is produced that can weaken the enamel of the teeth. Under stressful conditions, people are less likely to brush and floss regularly, which can further encourage the development of plaque and decay.
Another factor that can contribute to oral health complications as a result of stress is the use of tobacco and alcohol, both of which can lead to oral cancer. To relieve stress without damaging your oral health, find healthy ways to manage anxiety. Activities like meditation, walking, or yoga can help ease tension in the body and calm the mind. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, and try to stick to a healthy diet as much as possible to reduce the negative impact of stress on your body.
Many patients find that visiting the dentist for a checkup and cleaning can help them feel calmer because of the positive and relaxing environment that many offices offer. Regular visits will also allow a dentist to examine a patient’s teeth for signs of damage that can be caused during high periods of stress and to take proactive measures to prevent further problems.
To learn more about our dental care services or to schedule an appointment with us, contact Premier Dental Connections, New Port Richey, FL, by calling us at (727) 376-2299.