How Stress May Affect Your Oral Health

How Stress May Affect Your Oral Health

Posted by PS DENTAL on Nov 9 2022, 09:06 AM

Stress is a normal part of life. However, high levels of stress can cause health issues, including oral health issues. When the body feels stressed, it prepares itself for action. This response is known as the fight-or-flight response. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines stress as “the brain’s response to any demand.” In other words, your body reacts to life stressors the same way it does to physical danger – with an increased heart rate and heightened cortisol levels. 

Stress Affecting You

When you are experiencing chronic stress, this can cause muscle tension in your jaw. Over time, this can throw off the natural alignment of your teeth and lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD is a painful condition of the jaw joints that can cause headaches, earaches, and even lead to chronic neck pain. Additionally, the clenching and grinding that is sometimes associated with TMJ can accelerate tooth wear and may damage restorations such as fillings and crowns. Chronic stress can also worsen gum disease by weakening your immune system.

When we are experiencing stress, the other thing we do is we are more likely to grind or clench our teeth without even realizing it. We may also be more likely to miss brushing twice a day as well. The result of either form of tooth grinding is to wear down your enamel and damage your teeth. In worst-case scenarios, you may experience constant jaw pain or even lose a tooth or two. Also, when you miss brushing regularly, you are more prone to tooth decay since plaque builds up on your teeth much faster when there is food and debris sitting on them for long periods of time.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

If you find stress is affecting your oral health, there are a few steps you can take to reduce stress in your life:

  • Practice yoga or meditation to help relax your body and mind
  • Exercise daily to boost your mood and improve your physical health through the release of endorphins
  • Eat a healthy diet filled with whole foods and limit your consumption of processed foods and sugar
  • Spend time with loved ones and friends to help you feel connected and supported

PS Dental in Tigard, Oregon, offers the best dental care services to patients. For more details and appointments, call us at (503) 574-4000 or visit us at 12017 SW 70th Ave, Tigard, OR 97223.

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12017 SW 70th Ave, Tigard, OR 97223

Phone: (503) 574-4000


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