Everyone experiences stress at some point in his or her life, and some of us experience it often. Stress is your body’s natural response to feeling overwhelmed by certain situations or thinking about problems in your personal life. Stress can be good in small doses because it can help motivate you to do your best in difficult situations. However, if you’re experiencing chronic stress, it can lead to serious health problems like gum disease.
What are the Effects of Stress on Oral Health?
When our bodies are constantly under stress, it impairs the body’s ability to fight infection and heal wounds. When you’re stressed, your immune system responds by fighting off any perceived threats and doesn’t focus on healing your oral tissues. Your body’s heightened state of alert also affects your blood pressure, which can affect the health of your blood vessels. If the vessels are narrow, they can restrict blood flow and cause bacteria to leak into the gums. The combination of these factors can lead to gingivitis, which is the earliest stage of gum disease. If untreated, it can progress into periodontitis, which can have a harmful effect on your overall health. You may notice common signs of gum disease, including bleeding while brushing your teeth, red and swollen gums, persistent bad breath, loose teeth, receding gum lines, and sensitive teeth. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine if gum disease is present and what treatment options are available to you.
If you’re experiencing problems with your oral health due to stress, take steps to manage stress in your life and find healthy ways to cope with overwhelming feelings. Regular exercise can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety by lowering the level of stress hormones released into the body. Take some time for yourself each day to relax without doing anything. This could be as simple as taking a warm bath or setting aside time to meditate or practice yoga. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. These substances can intensify the effects of stress and make it more difficult to manage its effects. It’s also important to keep up with your oral hygiene routine and see your dentist regularly.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Angela An, D.D.S. General Dentistry, to learn more about maintaining good oral health. We are located at 490 Post St #1020, San Francisco, CA 94102. Contact us at (415) 291-8668 or visit our website for more information.