Many people are aware that stress can increase risks of heart attack and stroke, but there is less awareness of the connection between stress and poor dental health. Stress can harm the mouth through both immune suppression and physical damage. By learning more about the connection between stress and dental health, patients may better understand the need for relaxation in relation to their teeth.
Numerous oral health issues have been linked to stress. For example, bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common response to stress and can break teeth and damage jaw joints. Stress often reduces the flow of saliva, increasing susceptibility to cavities and gum disease. Low immunity resulting from chronic stress can predispose individuals to gum disease. Finally, canker sores and lichen planus, a disorder characterized by sores, white lines, and ulcers in the mouth, are both associated with low immune function due to stress.
Stress also contributes indirectly to poor oral health. For example, people who are stressed are more likely to consume foods and drinks high in sugar and are less likely to brush and floss regularly. Furthermore, oral health problems can compound stress and reduce resilience to pain associated with tooth decay and oral infections.
Patients who are feeling stressed out should take extra care not to neglect their dental health. Alcohol, junk food, smoking, and other damaging habits associated with stress should be avoided to minimize the harm stress causes in the mouth. When oral health problems do arise in response to stress, patients can schedule a consultation with our dentist in Houston to get diagnosed and treated before complications develop.
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