3 Ways Stress Affects Your Oral Health

From work tasks and home constraints, everyone experiences stress at one point in time. While you may be surprised to learn, one-third of all Americans are living with extreme stress. In many instances, this stress affects a person's underlying health, wellness, and quality of life. Fatigue, insomnia, and pain or discomfort in your back, neck, and muscles are common side effects of stress. However, this emotional distress can also affect your oral health. Here are a few surprising ways stress can affect your mouth, teeth, and gums.

1. Negatively Affects Immune System

Most people are surprised to learn that stress can negatively affect your immune system. During periods of stress, you may experience high blood pressure, which reduces blood circulation through the body. Without this proper flow of blood, the immune system will not work in an effective manner, meaning your body will not be able to fight of infections. A healthy immune system is essential for fighting and killing bacteria that could lead to tooth decay and gum disease. If you are constantly feeling stressed, your immune system will lack the power it needs to prevent cavities, decay, infections, and gum disease.

2. Leads to Tooth Grinding

The constant clenching of your jaw and grinding of your teeth is known as bruxism. Unfortunately, stress is one of the key causes of bruxism. Patients who are under enormous amounts of stress may begin to grind their teeth while resting or when asleep in an attempt to cope with the emotional distress. Over time, the clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth can wear down tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities and decay. If left untreated, bruxism can cause TMJ, a painful disorder of the jaw joint.

3. Improper Oral Hygiene

Stress can also affect your ability to take proper care of your teeth. If you are dealing with this emotional distress, you may not brush and floss as recommended. In addition, you may lack the time, energy, or physical well-being to visit your dentist for regular exams and cleanings. Improper oral hygiene can lead to a variety of problems including tooth stains, cavities, decay, and a more involved case of periodontal disease that can cause you to lose one or more teeth.

Stress may not be a life-threatening condition, but it can greatly affect your physical, emotional, and oral health. This guide and your dentist will help you understand the dangerous effects stress has on your oral health. For more information, contact a dental office like Persona  Dental.