The effects of stress on your oral health and how to manage it

A picture of someone expressing stress and anguish due to their oral health

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and we all experience it at some point. However, prolonged or chronic stress can have significant effects on our physical and mental health, including our oral health. In the UK, studies have shown that stress can contribute to several oral health problems, such as gum disease, bruxism (teeth grinding), and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

Research and its effects on our lives

There have been several UK-based studies on the link between stress and oral health. One study published in the British Dental Journal found that stress was associated with an increased risk of gum disease and poor oral hygiene habits, such as infrequent brushing and flossing. Another study published in the British Society of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry found that stress was a significant predictor of gum disease in adults.

A more recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology found that individuals with higher levels of stress were more likely to develop severe gum disease, with stress levels also correlating with the severity of the disease. The study also found that individuals who practiced stress-reducing techniques such as yoga and meditation had better oral health outcomes than those who did not.

These studies highlight the importance of managing stress for maintaining good oral health and preventing gum disease. By taking steps to reduce stress levels, such as practicing mindfulness techniques, seeking social support, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, individuals can protect their oral health and promote overall wellness.

What happens when we experience stress

When we experience stress, our body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can affect our immune system’s ability to fight off infections. This can lead to inflammation and infections in the gums, which can cause gum disease. Stress can also cause us to clench or grind our teeth, putting pressure on the teeth and jaws and increasing the risk of TMJ. These habits can also wear down the tooth enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity and even tooth loss.

Managing stress is crucial for maintaining good health and overall well-being. Some effective management techniques include regular exercise, mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation, and seeking social support from friends and family. It’s also essential to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly, and visiting a dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. If you experience any problems, it’s important to seek professional help from a dentist or doctor who can provide treatment and offer advice on managing stress. By taking steps to manage stress, we can protect our oral health and promote better overall wellness.