What you eat isn’t the only thing that can affect your teeth; your state of mind plays an important role, as well. Elevated stress levels can lead to dentally detrimental habits, and if proper care is not taken, irreversible damage can occur. To help you stay aware of how everyday worries can affect your teeth, Sheridan dentist Dr. Coon explains the relationship between stress and your oral health.
How Stress Affects Your Teeth and Gums
Unfortunately, stress can attack your oral health on two different fronts. It can directly affect your mouth’s health (studies have shown that excessive stress can lead to issues such as canker sores) and it can affect your diet and daily routine, often leading to poor oral hygiene practices. If you feel overwhelmed with stress, everyday routines can seem less and less important (including the few minutes spent brushing and flossing your teeth every day). As stress grows and these essential routines fall by the wayside, so too does your oral health in the face of stress-induced neglect.
Studies have shown that excessive levels of stress can inhibit your immune system’s effectiveness at fighting infection and disease. Two of the most common, yet destructive, oral health issues, tooth decay and gum disease, both result from bacterial infection, which a healthy immune system would have better success fighting than one hampered down by the weight of stress. Also, stress is a common motivator behind bruxism, the habit of clenching and grinding one’s teeth. The pressure from this habit can excessively wear down your teeth and cause irreversible damage, including cracked, chipped, or broken teeth.
Limit Stress, Stay Healthier
To help prevent stress from damaging the state of your oral health, be sure to strictly adhere to a proper oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth at least twice day, floss a t least once, and visit your Sheridan dentist at least once every six months for a dental checkup and cleaning. To help reduce stress levels, try envisioning a favorite vacation spot, or take up a hobby as an outlet for relaxation. A warm, soothing cup of tea and a moment of solitude may be all you need to relax and get back on track. Dr. Coon advises you to find what works for you and utilize your stress-reducing tactic as often as needed. To learn more about protecting your dental health or reducing your stress, or to speak with your Sheridan dentist, schedule a consultation at Grinnell Street Dental by contacting our Sheridan dentist office at (307) 672-7567. We welcome patients from Sheridan, WY and the surrounding communities.