The way that stress affects the body shows itself in many ways.
Oral health is no different and can be a very early site that is affected and can give indicators of larger problems.
Some of this can just be the natural effect of hormones in the body, and some of it can be traced to the way that people choose to handle the stress that they are feeling.
There are unfortunately a lot of methods of handling stress in the short term that have a negative effect on the body, and the fact that a lot of them are taken orally means that the mouth is the first place that is affected by the problem.
Here is how stress affects your oral health.
When your immune system is under pressure because of stress it can cause changes all over your body. Things that were not troubling you before suddenly flare up and become a problem.
There are certain sites of the body that seem to be very prone to expressing these problems. Stomachs, backs, and mouths are all great early warning systems.
A lot of people will smoke more, drink more coffee, or soda, in an attempt to handle their stress. Comfort foods are unfortunately most often food that is laden with sugars.
Cigarettes, coffee, and soda all affect the acidity in your mouth, and this makes your mouth a more hospitable environment for bacteria that can cause sores to appear or worsen.
They can be treated with hydrogen peroxide which kills the bacteria.
The problems that come and the attendant pain often exacerbate the stress, and the stress can worsen the condition, which makes its a problem that can cycle and continue for a long time without intervention
Gum disease can really be affected by how your immune system is faring. When you feel tired or run down and depressed it can make you more susceptible to infections and illness.
Your immune system may also be making you feel less good as well – the longer either situation gos on can lead to it becoming something of a chicken and the egg situation.
You may not be looking after yourself as well as you should, and you may have dropped out things that you used to do on a regular basis.
Depression, stress, and other mental health issues often interrupt the regular activities of the day, and personal neglect and bad hygiene can be a major problem.
Not cleaning your teeth and maintaining your oral health may be one of the first things to go.
Then you start eating badly and increase the bad food you are eating for its comforting sugar rush, and before you know it you are suffering from sensitive teeth, and your minor gum disease issue is suddenly a big problem.
A lot of people when they get stressed out tend to grind their teeth. This doesn’t necessarily have to be linked to mental illness, and can indeed be a side effect of some medications that are prescribed to deal with mental illness.
Grinding your teeth can cause major and long-lasting damage.
It damages the surface of the tooth, but can also spread further into the jaw and cause misalignment.
It can loosen teeth as well, damage the gums, and if you have crowns it can damage them.
It is something that can be handled at the endpoint, some people wear mouth guards to stop the grinding, but it may again be something that needs the intervention of mental health professional.
When you have your dentist perform regular check-ups they are able to catch things like this and bring them to your attention and to offer you help in finding a solution to them.
Effects On Your Immune System
When you get stressed it can put a lot of strain on your immune system, and this can make you more prone to developing cankers, ulcers and mouth sores.
It can also make you prone to some of the conditions that are listed above.
A good dentist who spots that you are experiencing one or more of these conditions may diagnose something called oral anxiety and may make a recommendation that you actually go and see a mental health specialist.
It has been found that people who have mental health issues are more likely to have oral health issues, and some of these are a result of the mental illness, but they can also have a causative role in worsening mental health.
Imagine being in constant pain and it is easy to see how this could be. Something like bruxism can be a side effect of some medications that are used.
The neglect of personal hygiene can be an indicator that something is wrong.
It can cause an increase in social anxiety and exacerbate the withdrawal of the person from social situations. It is important to handle it.
If you have a good relationship with your dentist, and you are going for regular check-ups, a lot of the aforementioned symptoms are going to be something that they can easily spot and have a solution for. Dental Checkups should be done at least twice per year.
If you are suffering from any of these issues and you yourself are concerned, you should contact your dentist immediately, because they will want to know if your health is at risk.
It is true that the end result of all of these situations when it manifests as a problem with oral health can be handled by your dentist.
When there are deeper underlying issues that are causing the problems your dentist is likely going to refer you to a specialist in that field.
A good dentist is a valuable part of your support network, this is why it is so important to make sure that you choose an experienced dentist.
They generally have a lot of easy to understand information that you can ask for, and they will have a list of resources that really help you to handle the problem.
There is no need for you to remain stressed, and there is no reason for you to have a persistent dental problem.