You’ve probably heard stress affects our body in many different ways and sometimes it’s hard to identify how. It’s not always apparent as other times but our overall health is usually the one that suffers and yes, that means your oral health as well.
Stress in today’s world is no surprise as we deal with stress on a daily basis, however, coping with the stress can be hard and start to take a toll on your body if it becomes negative where you experience little to no relief or relaxation. We highly recommend finding ways you can take time to ease some of the stress whether it’s for 30 minutes to an hour, you need to make the time to avoid complicating your health especially your oral health.
How can stress affect our oral health? There are a couple of ways it does, and we’ve listed them below.
Teeth Clenching – most often than not we do this when we least expect it and goes unnoticed. Stress can cause us to clench our teeth while in thought or when we’re working on something. It’s hard to realize when you’re clenching until you notice your jaw hurting which causes more tension on your jaw muscles than there needs to be.
Teeth Grinding – grinding your teeth can happen when you sleep when you’re feeling stressed out. Since it is most likely to occur at night, it’s difficult to notice it at the moment. If you’re waiting up with headaches, chances are you went to sleep feeling stressed and grinding your teeth at night. Teeth grinding can damage your teeth and enamel which leads to headaches and soreness in the jaw.
Nail Biting – although it’s not always a stress habit but a nervous habit, it can still cause damage to our teeth. Whether your stress is causing you to worry or feel frustrated and overwhelmed, biting your nails is not the answer. When you bit down on your nails, you can crack, break, chip or wear out your front teeth, not to mention you can show signs of worn gum tissue caused by the nail edges. You can also cause infection, remember our tongue carries a lot more bacteria than you think which can enter your bloodstream if you bite more of the nail.
Stress Eating – we’ve all been here at some point, think back to when you were in school or college. Making a poor diet decision can lead to a lack of the nutrition we need such as vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants. Most of the time, we choose foods that carry more sugar and sodium that linger in our mouth feeding the bacteria which cause tooth decay.
Dry Mouth – now, I know this isn’t exactly something we do, but it is a result of what we feed our bodies and of stress. When we’re stress, there are probably sleepless nights on the horizon and more coffee intake or energy drinks for the boost of energy we need. These drinks along with a few others cause our mouth to dry. Having a dry mouth leaves our teeth vulnerable, we need to have saliva flow to wash away food particles from our teeth and gums. It’s a defense towards the bacteria found in our mouth.
If we don’t find ways to cope with our stress levels, it can soon be taking a toll on our bodies and oral health. Stress can be useful when it keeps us alert and energized but, it can also prevent us from relaxing and easing some of the tension we carry. Before heading to bed, ask yourself if you’re stressed out if you are, try some light exercise, medications, yoga or whatever relaxes you to help you go to bed feeling less stress and calmer. It will improve your sleep and avoid any teeth grinding at night. Share with us what are some of the ways stress affects you in the comments below.