The Link Between Stress and Oral Health

The Link Between Stress and Oral Health

Posted by Tilden Dental on Apr 17 2023, 07:07 AM

Stress is a part of everyone’s life. It is completely normal and common. However, excessive stress can cause a variety of health issues, including trouble with your oral health. That is because your stress level can affect your oral health in a number of ways. It can cause you to neglect your oral hygiene routine and increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Stress is the body’s response to a mental or physical demand placed on the body. This response can be positive or negative, depending on the situation. The body produces hormones in response to stress that prepares the body to fight or flee from the situation. This is an evolutionary adaptation that helps people survive dangerous situations in ancient times. But today, our bodies still respond to stressful situations in the same ways.

The body responds by activating your nervous system, speeding up the heart, raising your blood pressure, and releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These cause a variety of physical symptoms that can feel similar to an illness. These include headaches, nausea, diarrhea, increased heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tension and pain, fatigue, trouble sleeping, poor concentration, and more.

Long-term stress can have a negative impact on your overall health. For example, it can increase the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and depression. It can also lower your immune system and decrease bone density. Chronic stress can even affect your oral health. It can cause you to grind your teeth more and clench your jaw when you sleep, which can increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. Stress is a common cause of bruxism, the medical term for nighttime tooth grinding. Over time, this can wear down your tooth enamel and cause sensitivity and pain. You may also notice that you’re more sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages when you’re stressed. That’s because the stress hormone cortisone increases blood flow to the skin. This can lead to inflammation of the gums as well.

Because of the close link between your oral health and stress, it is important to take steps to manage both. Lifestyle changes can help you lower your stress levels and improve your overall quality of life. Reducing stress can also improve your oral health. Start by identifying the cause of your stress. Sometimes, avoiding situations and people who cause you stress is enough to alleviate the problem. In other cases, you may need to make a lifestyle change to manage stress more effectively. Regular exercise can help to reduce stress and improve cardiovascular health, which can improve your general well-being. Sleep is also an important part of stress management. Getting enough sleep can reduce fatigue, improve your mood, and help your immune system fight infection. 

Our dental practice is equipped with the best dentists and modern technologies that enable the best dental care for patients. For the best dental treatments in Chicago, IL, contact Tilden Dental Group. You can find us at 331 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611, or call (312) 664-6616.

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