How stress affects your mouth and teeth

We all know stress has negative effects on the body. Labelled the silent killer, it can impact everything from our mental health to our heart and digestive system.

But amidst the myriad of health consequences it’s been linked to, such as obesity, heart disease, anxiety and headaches, few people appreciate the drastic toll stress can also take on our teeth and dental health.

Here are just some of the ways stress impacts the teeth, gums and mouth…

Bruxism (teeth grinding)

Teeth grinding is not only common, it’s often linked to stress. And it affects the teeth in a series of ways. Teeth may become worn where they grind against each other, and they may become weakened. This can lead to chipping, cracking and even breakage, but it can also make them more prone to decay.

Meanwhile, constant grinding can also cause your teeth to loosen in the gums.

Saliva production

Stress can cause your mouth to become dry, which also impacts your teeth.

Under normal circumstances the mouth maintains an intricate balance of moisture and acidity. Saliva helps wash food debris away and maintains the right pH balance in your mouth, but when your mouth becomes dry, plaque builds up more readily. This leads to you being more prone to cavities and can also impact your gums.

Diet

Often anxiety or persistent stress can impact your diet. It may mean you eat more, and those foods tend to be unhealthy.

It may mean you hardly eat at all, which can see you become further run down, and your immune system weaken.

A lack of attention to proper nutrition can also mean your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to maintain heathy teeth and gums, which may make you more prone to cavities and gum disease.

Poor dental hygiene

Regardless of what’s going on in life, attention to your dental hygiene is always important. Stress can interfere with that in a number of ways. It may see you paying less attention than normal to your dental routine, or you might even become hypervigilant.

This too has potential problems. Excessive and rough brushing or flossing can damage your gums and the protective enamel on your teeth.

Healing

It’s little secret, stress has very real impacts on your immune system, which can impact your ability to heal. This could affect the types of dental procedures you can have done, and may also see you more prone to gum infections and ulcers.

What to do?

If you’re feeling stressed or are suffering a period of prolonged anxiety and depression, it’s important you seek the right help.

In addition to reaching out to your GP and/or a support service, see your dentist to ensure this period of stress does not result in negative long-term consequences for your gums and teeth.

About Brite Dental

Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.

Offering a full range of dental services, ranging from children’s dentistry through to orthodontics and high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.

You can learn more about our dental services here, or contact us to book your next appointment.