How Does Stress Affect Your Dental Health?

how stress affects dental health

How Does Stress Affect Your Dental Health?

Did you know that stress can cause dental problems like teeth grinding? Stress is something most of us deal with from time to time, and many people are at risk for stress-related health concerns. The staff at Hicks Dental Group have seen how stress affects dental health, and we know how important managing stress can be. Today we’re sharing some stress management tips so you can maintain good oral health.

Can Stress Cause Dental Problems?

Yes—although oral health and stress may not seem related, stress can cause or complicate several different dental problems. If you suffer from chronic stress, you may be at higher risk for the following conditions.

  1. Canker Sores

These small ulcers that form inside the mouth can be caused by a variety of things (including mouth injuries and acidic foods), but one of the primary causes is stress. Although canker sores usually heal on their own in a short period of time, stress often slows your body’s ability to repair itself.

  1. Gum Disease

Although it’s not always directly caused by stress, gum disease (or periodontitis) can be a by-product of poor stress management. When we feel stressed and overwhelmed, we often forget about important daily tasks like brushing and flossing. Poor dental hygiene increases the risk of bad bacteria in the mouth, which in turn leads to periodontitis. 

  1. Bruxism

Teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, is often associated with high stress and anxiety. Jaw clenching or teeth grinding is usually an unconscious response to stress. Sometimes it occurs during the day, and other times at night. Bruxism can wear away tooth enamel, cause jaw pain, headaches, tooth breakage, and mouth injury. 

Stress Management

Now that we’ve reviewed how stress affects your dental health, let’s look at how stress management can help. Reducing stress overall can do wonders for both your physical and mental health, but where do you start?

  1. Practice Mindfulness

The word mindfulness seems to be thrown around a lot these days, but for good reason. Mindfulness is the practice of slowing down and paying attention to the present moment. Being more mindful of daily routines can help improve your dental health. Meditation is one of the best ways to start making mindfulness a part of your daily life. 

  1. Delegate Tasks 

When you have too much on your plate, or you try to manage too many responsibilities at once, stress is inevitable. Consider whether or not you really have to do everything on your list. Can a spouse help by making dinner a few nights a week? Can a colleague take the lead on a project instead of you? Can you cut a few social engagements from your calendar? Taking commitments and responsibilities off your plate by giving them to others or saying no could do wonders for reducing stress.

  1. Form Healthy Habits

Never underestimate the power of eating healthy and staying active! Eating a healthy, balanced diet will give your body better fuel for the day, and you’ll be able handle stress better when it arises. Staying physically active can also help tremendously with improving mental health. Finding an activity that you enjoy is key—don’t run if you hate running! Try biking, swimming, or basketball instead. 

Get Help for Stress Caused Dental Problems

If you have stress-related dental problems, it’s time to seek professional help. The dentists at Hicks Dental Group will be able to get you back on track with your daily oral care routines and help treat issues like bruxism, periodontitis, or tooth decay. If you are looking for a dentist in Prescott, Arizona, contact us by calling 928-445-6030 or texting 928-487-4583 to schedule an appointment today.

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