Do you find yourself spending more time under stress than relaxed? If so, it could be taking a toll on your oral health. That’s because the human body tends to subconsciously react to stress in ways that could be detrimental to your teeth and gums. As you continue reading, a dentist in Dublin explains what could arise from not having adequate coping mechanisms and the value of seeking dental care.
Scientists Explain the Connection Between Stress and Oral Health
In a 2009 study, the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) confirmed that stress may negatively impact dental hygiene. The study results showed that 56% of the participants said that stress led them to neglect regular brushing and flossing. Stress also played a significant role in encouraging smoking and drinking alcohol, two activities that have been found to be detrimental to oral health.
Oral Conditions Related to Stress, Depression and Anxiety
Chronic mental and emotional struggles can contribute to the following conditions:
- Burning mouth syndrome – A painful condition that creates a scalding feeling in the tongue, lips and roof of the mouth
- Canker sores – Small, painful ulcers inside the mouth that seem to appear when a person is under extreme pressure
- Cold sores – Fluid-filled blisters that especially flare-up during intense emotional situations
- Teeth grinding (bruxism) – An unconscious reaction to tense or emotionally charged situations, that can wear down and chip the teeth and cause jaw muscle issues
What You Can Do
If you’re dealing with any of the above issues, it could be quite beneficial to seek professional counseling. You should also keep your dentist in the loop and be sure to get in for a visit. Therefore, any oral health problems that may have developed can be treated before they become worse.
Additionally, you may consider taking the following steps to achieve some balance:
- Breathing exercises – It’s natural to restrict your breathing in tense situations. When you notice this happening, make a deliberate effort to take deep and slow breaths to calm your emotions and mind.
- Physical exercise – In addition to improving your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health, performing vigorous physical exercise helps to stabilize your mood and indirectly protect your teeth and gums from damage.
- Having fun – From time to time, it’s important to be like a little child and just have fun. Smiling and laughing are great for releasing endorphins and dopamine to lift your spirits.
With the world still reeling from the effects of COVID-19, many people are dealing with chronic stress that could be impacting their oral health. By taking a calculated approach and seeking help from a dentist and other medical professionals, you can effectively respond!
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. He is well aware of the many stressors that people are facing, which is why he takes a caring and compassionate approach to providing preventive and restorative care. To stay abreast of the latest and most effective techniques, Dr. Buck takes several hours of continuing education, and he mentors other dentists as a Spear Education faculty member. He offers an array of services at Distinctive Smiles, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.