Unpopular Connections Between Stress And Oral Health

Unpopular Connections Between Stress And Oral Health

Posted by ROBIN MELLS on Nov 25 2022, 09:55 AM

Stress is the body's response to any change that requires an adjustment or response. We might not think about it, but stress happens all the time. In fact, it can be helpful for motivating us to get things done or for preparing us for a fight-or-flight situation. But excessive levels of stress can do a lot of damage to our bodies and minds. And that includes your oral health as well.

Stress and Oral Health

When we're stressed, our body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is part of the body's fight-or-flight response. It increases our blood pressure and heart rate to prepare us for physical exertion. And it increases the amount of glucose in our system so that we can run faster. It also diverts blood to areas of the body that need it the most - like the muscles - and leaves less for the digestive system. This is why people under stress often experience nausea or vomiting.

All of this happens because the body is trying to prepare itself for danger. The trouble is that sometimes we don't ever really face the stressor that we anticipated. As a result, we stay in this state of heightened arousal for quite some time. And this can have some negative effects on our health over time.

One such effect is on our oral health. When we feel stressed, we often clench our jaw and grind our teeth. This can cause damage to the teeth or enamel, as well as cause pain in the jaw muscles. That's why many dentists recommend wearing a nightguard if you tend to clench at night while you sleep. These guards can keep you from damaging your teeth while you sleep. They don't prevent you from clenching, but they prevent your bottom teeth and jaw from grinding against each other and causing damage.

Another way that stress can affect your oral health is by causing you to neglect it. You might not feel like brushing your teeth when you're feeling stressed out. Or you might not be able to eat a balanced diet if you're under a great deal of stress. All of these things can lead to cavities or gum disease.

If you are feeling stressed out, one of the most important things you should do is practice good oral hygiene. If you begin to notice any signs of tooth decay or gum disease, such as gum inflammation, you should immediately schedule a consultation with our dentist here at our dental office for an exam and cleaning. We may recommend additional treatments based on the severity of your condition.

For the best dental care in San Jose, CA, call (408) 243-4216, schedule an appointment, or visit us at 251 O'Connor Drive Suite #3, San Jose, CA 95128.

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