The Surprising Link Between Stress and Oral Health: What You Need To Know

April 2024 is Stress Awareness Month. Stress is an unavoidable aspect of daily life, yet its effects on oral health are often not valued enough. Research indicates that stress can significantly impact various aspects of oral health, ranging from gum disease to tooth decay. Understanding this intricate connection between stress and oral well-being is crucial.

Let’s read into the surprising ways stress affects oral health and discover practical tips to maintain healthy teeth and gums, even during times of heightened stress.

What is the impact of stress on my teeth?

Research has indicated a link between stress levels and oral health. During periods of stress, our immune system may weaken, rendering us more vulnerable to infections. Consequently, this increased sensitivity can contribute to issues such as:

Bruxism/Teeth Grinding

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common side effect of stress. During stressful situations, there is a tendency to grind your teeth and tighten your jaw without knowing. This may result in teeth degradation, discomfort in jaw, and even migraines.

Poor Oral Hygiene

When we are stressed, we may neglect our oral hygiene routine. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Stress can weaken our immune system, making it harder for our bodies to fight infections and diseases in the mouth.

Gum Disease

Stress can also contribute to the development and progression of gum disease. When we are stressed, our bodies produce more of the hormone cortisol, which can increase inflammation in the body. This can make our gums more susceptible to infection and can also slow down the healing process.

How can I minimise stress to improve my oral health

Here are some tips to help you reduce stress and protect your teeth and gums:

  • Practice Stress-Relief Techniques: Incorporate stress-relief activities into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness practices. These techniques can help calm the mind and relax the body, reducing the impact of stress on your oral health.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep each night. A healthy lifestyle can boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and improve your overall resilience to stress.
  • Prioritise Oral Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene habits by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily. This helps remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease.
  • Limit Stress-Inducing Habits: Identify and limit habits that contribute to stress, such as excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption, smoking, or poor dietary choices. These habits can have negative effects on both your overall health and your oral health.
  • Seek Professional Support: If stress is impacting your oral health or overall well-being, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Your dentist, doctor or mental health professional can provide guidance, support and resources to help you manage stress effectively.

By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can better manage stress and maintain good oral health for a happier, healthier smile.

Get In Touch

We believe we have covered everything for now. However, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact your nearest clinic. We have clinics across Wiltshire, with locations in Chippenham, Corsham, Swindon and Devizes

Our team is friendly and eager to provide you with all the answers you need for your dental care. We are happy to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about taking care of your teeth.

To ensure your teeth’s optimal health, please schedule an appointment with one of our dentists. It is important to book as soon as possible. Book your appointment today

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Call us at – 01249 846915

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