Everyone feels stressed out sometime – but if you feel stressed out more often than not, it can affect your mental and physical health. Did you know that it can affect your oral health as well?
How Is Stress Affecting You?
When you are under constant stress, you may find it hard to sleep, hard to relax, and hard to concentrate. You may have headaches and muscles that are tense all the time. And, it can hurt your teeth and gums too! You may develop:
- Tooth issues. Some people deal with stress by grinding their teeth (bruxism). You may not even realize you do this, as a lot of bruxism takes place as we sleep. Bruxism can cause damage to teeth, such as cracks and chips. It can also wear teeth down over time.
- Gum problems. When you develop problems with your teeth (for example, because of bruxism), problems with the gums are close behind. Add to this that when we are under stress our bodies release cortisol, a hormone that can make the immune system less effective. Excess cortisol can make it difficult for the body to fight infection, which means the gums are more susceptible to damage from bacteria in the mouth. This can lead to gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. If you have been under stress for a long time, you may notice that your gums are swollen and tender and often bleed.
- Oral hygiene issues. If you get to the end of your day and you are exhausted from the stress of it all, you may not feel like bothering to brush and floss. This can lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay and also unhealthy gums. You might also develop unhealthy habits to deal with stress, such as biting your nails or chewing on pens or pencils.
A bit of stress in life is good; it can get you up and moving to get things done. But too much stress can mean all kinds of health problems. If you are having pain or problems with your teeth or gums, contact the office of Samuel Jirik, DDS, Implant, Cosmetic & General Dentistry in Cabot, Arkansas. Call (501) 843-9561 for an appointment today!