Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

When we talk about the effects of stress on a person’s oral health, it can mean a few different things. In many cases, it is referring to physical or emotional stress that impacts the body as a whole and your oral health is no exception.

Physical and emotional stress can take many different forms. Many people experience stress related to their jobs or careers, like working long hours without much of a break. Other types of stress might be related to relationships or major life events, such as divorce or even the birth of a child. In fact, any type of change in your life can create stress and impact your dental health. Some common examples of these types of stressors are cavities, gum disease, tooth erosion, and even tooth loss. All of these issues can be caused or exacerbated by stress.

How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

The link between stress and oral health is complex. Sometimes, there’s just no way around it: if you’re stressed, you’re going to experience some negative consequences to your oral health. However, it’s also possible to control your stress levels, which can have a positive impact on your oral health as well.

First, let’s review how stress affects your mouth specifically. When we’re stressed out, our body produces more cortisol and adrenaline than usual. This can cause dry mouth as your body attempts to conserve water instead of flushing it out of your system. Saliva is crucial to your oral health because it helps wash away food particles that can damage your teeth and lead to decay. A lack of saliva can put you at a higher risk for cavities and gum disease.

Stress also increases inflammation in the body, which is bad news for your gums. Your gums are sensitive tissues that can easily be inflamed by bacteria or irritants that may be present in your mouth during stressful times. Inflammation can lead to gum recession and even tooth loss.

Finally, stress can also affect your sleep habits, which increases your risk of bruxism or grinding your teeth at night while you sleep. This can lead to tooth damage, fractures, and other serious complications. Since bruxism is unconscious, it can be difficult to manage without help from a professional.

How To Reduce Stress to Improve My Oral Health?

Reducing stress is one way to improve your overall wellness, and your oral health is no different. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones that cause inflammation throughout your entire body. Inflammation can cause pain in your mouth as well as periodontal disease. While you may not be experiencing any pain or discomfort, it’s important to understand that your stress levels could be impacting your oral and overall health. Here are some ways you can reduce stress to improve your oral care and health in the long run.

  • Exercise often. Getting your blood pumping is a great way to clear your mind of stressful thoughts and allow your body to release endorphins that make you feel happier and less anxious.
  • Enjoy relaxing activities. Spend time doing things you enjoy, such as reading or spending time with friends. Find activities that bring you joy and relaxation to help lower your stress levels.
  • Talk to someone close to you. Even just venting about what is stressing you out can help to clear your mind. If you don’t have a person in your life you feel comfortable talking to, consider finding a mental health professional to help you work through your stressors. 
  • Learn to manage your time better. When you are overwhelmed with too much to do in too little time, it can be overwhelming and lead to stress. Learning how to manage your time will help you feel less overwhelmed and will lower your stress levels. Make to-do lists to prioritize your tasks. Also, learn to say “no” to tasks that aren’t as important to you when you have a lot on your plate.
  • Practice meditation or mindfulness techniques. Meditation is a practice that focuses on being present at the moment. It can help you become aware of your surroundings and focus on one thing at a time. This awareness can improve your mood and reduce your stress levels. Try meditating for just a few minutes each day to start practicing this technique.
  • Eat a healthy diet. When you eat a poor diet full of sugary foods and processed foods, you are increasing inflammation in your body. A healthy and balanced diet can help you maintain good oral health.

To learn more about our dental services or to schedule your appointment with our Dentist in Colorado Springs, CO, call us at (719) 374-5496 or visit our dental office located at 1359 Interquest Pkwy Suite 100, Colorado Springs, CO 80921.


1359 Interquest Pkwy Suite 100, Colorado Springs, CO 80921

Phone: (719) 374-5496


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