You probably know from experience that stress can affect you’re health. When you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to catch colds or just plain not feel well. However, studies show that stress can also have a strongly negative effect on your oral health. If you’re under a great deal of stress or pressure in your life, a trip to the dentist might be an excellent idea.
Why Does Stress Affect Your Oral Health?
The connection between stress and health has been studied for some time, but only in the last few decades have researchers looked specifically at the connection between stress and dental health. These studies have shown that elevated stress levels can increase the likelihood of gum disease. Researchers aren’t sure what causes this connection, but suspect it is related to elevated levels of stress hormones, especially cortisol.
Other factors might be related to our reactions to stress. Stress can lead to psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety, and overall distress, which can cause some people to pay less attention to their everyday oral hygiene. It can also lead to increased use of alcohol or nicotine, which also have a negative effect on oral health.
Effects of Stress on the Mouth
Elevated stress levels can lead to gum disease, which can lead to a wide range of additional problems. When your gums become inflamed and infected, they pull away from the roots of the teeth. Since the gums serve as support for your teeth, this can cause teeth to become loose and even eventually fall out.
One challenge related to gum disease is that it often doesn’t produce noticeable symptoms until it becomes serious. However, your dentist can see early indications of inflammation in the gums. If you’re under a great deal of stress, be sure to visit your dentist regularly and keep an eye out for symptoms of gum problems, including:
- A red or shiny look to your gums
- Bleeding when you brush
- Swelling in the gums
- A persistent bad taste in your mouth
You should also take measures to reduce your stress, not just for your teeth, but for your overall health and well-being.