Life can be stressful sometimes, and the last thing people think about is whether their teeth are being affected by stress. Mental health is one key trigger from stress, but research has found that stress actually has an impact on your oral health as well. If you didn’t think there was a connection before, there is, and your oral health will be impacted.
Upon your dental check-up, the dentist will be the first person to identify signs of stress. There are certain conditions and habits that you will experience without realising it when you are stressed.
Below outline five key impacts of stress on your oral health.
Poor Oral Hygiene
When one is stressed, brushing teeth may be one of the last things a person will think about. The mind may be preoccupied with other pressing concerns that trouble you. Therefore, you may lose interest in looking after your oral health. Consciously, the way you look after your teeth on a day where you’re not stressed will show a big difference compared to when you are stressed. You’re unlikely to focus when brushing and flossing your teeth. This can lead to cavities and gum issues down the line.
One of the symptoms of teeth grinding (Bruxism) is stress. When stressed, you’re more likely to grind your teeth more than usual. Adding to this, you’re likely to grind your teeth during the day and not just in your sleep. The symptoms of teeth grinding include wear-and-tear, sensitivity and strain on facial jaw muscles.
A Poor Diet
You’re unlikely to stick to a strong balanced diet when you’re stressed. This means you’ll eat whatever is available if your mind is focused on other pressing matters. You’ll want quick and easy foods without realising the content of what you’re eating. This means a chance of consuming high volumes of sugar, a lack of water consumption and potentially smoking and consuming alcohol. A poor diet will cause cavities and plaque build-up.
By not eating saliva-rich foods and water regularly, you’re more likely to experience dry mouth. Dry mouth is a condition where there is a lack of saliva production, a vital mineral that fights off oral disease and harmful bacteria build-up. With stress, you’re likely to be under pressure and your focus would likely be on those pressing concerns, rather than your saliva levels. Alongside the benefit of fighting off oral diseases, saliva washes away food debris keeping teeth and gums healthy.
Bleeding Gums (Gum Disease)
A sign of bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease. This can be escalated by stress because your immune system is being impacted. This creates harmful bacteria which can be difficult for the immune system to battle off infection. You’re at a greater risk of gum disease in the long-term.
A strong oral routine and positive dental habits are what significantly help with keeping teeth and gums strong. When one is stressed, you aren’t likely to focus on maintaining these habits and a strong oral routine. This opens the door to the potential oral health concerns outlined above and you feeling anxious about how your teeth look. If you’re concerned about your oral health due to external stress factors, contact your dentist for further advice.
Are you showing signs of stress and are worried about your oral health? Our helpful and knowledgeable dentists at Springvale Dental Smiles are on standby to give you the advice you need to protect your oral health. Book an appointment with us today.