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How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

In today’s world stress is a common condition. Many of us suffer from stress in our daily lives due to heavy workloads, hectic schedules, social pressures, and finances with little to no relief. Stress in small quantities can be beneficial to your body and give you an energizing boost when you need it most, but it can take a serious toll on your health if you’re coping with stress for a prolonged period of time. Recently, studies have shown that dental health, in particular, suffers severely from long-term stress.

Oral health issues that are stress-induced are:

1. Mouth Sores

Mouth sores are most commonly caused by emotional stress, including types such as canker sores and cold sores.

2. Teeth Grinding

People who are chronically stressed typically have a difficult time sleeping and can become quite restless throughout the night. During their sleep, the stress typically is relieved by people unknowingly grinding their teeth. This can wear down enamel which can cause tooth infection and decay and can also cause severe headaches.

3. Poor Oral Hygiene

Those with overly packed schedules tend to cut corners on things to save themselves some extra time. Unfortunately, sometimes this corner-cutting can fall onto their oral hygiene habits, and leads to people not brushing or flossing as regularly as they should.

4. Gum Disease

Because stress hormones are so powerful they have an effect on the entire body, including the immune system. If dangerous bacteria are present within your mouth during a stressful period in your life, your body may not be strong enough to fight off the infection which could cause severe issues such as gum disease.

5. Unregular Check-Ups

If you have a busy schedule you probably don’t have time to set up extra appointments with your dentist. Dentists recommend that everyone makes teeth-cleaning appointments at least every 6 months. If you are seeing your dentist less often than that you could be letting entirely preventable dental issues wreak havoc within your mouth.

6. Dry Mouth

One of the leading causes of dry mouth is chronic stress. People tend to experience dry mouth before intimidating interviews, important meetings, or nerve-wracking appointments. Having dry mouth often can lead to infection within the mouth, because there is not enough saliva to wash away unwanted bacteria, plaque, or debris.

7. Take Action!

If you are currently experiencing chronic stress within your life it’s important to take steps to address the root of the problem. Prolonged stress can be detrimental to your overall well-being and can lead to a wide array of oral health issues and many other health issues elsewhere within the body.

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