Stress is a normal part of life. But, if it increases suddenly or lasts for a long period of time, it can have negative effects on your health. Stress is a normal response to situations that cause us to feel threatened or anxious, and our bodies react by releasing hormones to stimulate a response of "fight or flight." But modern stressors like job demands and family responsibilities can cause us to experience prolonged periods of elevated stress that have a negative effect on the body and oral health.
Prolonged stress can negatively impact a person's health by affecting sleep, causing heart and gastrointestinal issues, and causing memory problems. Stress also impacts oral health by causing people to grind their teeth and clench their jaws. This puts additional wear and tear on teeth that can erode enamel and cause sensitivity. It can also cause TMJ disorders and headaches. For these reasons, it is important to take steps to manage stress if it is having a negative effect on your life.
One study indicated that stressed-out women experienced greater damage to their gums than non-stressed women – indicating that stress may be a risk factor for periodontitis as well. Research suggests that stress hormones also increase oral bacteria's ability to dissolve tooth enamel, which can leave teeth more vulnerable to decay and cavities.
If you're feeling stressed out, be sure to practice self-care, try deep breathing or meditation techniques, and consider talking to a doctor about ways to reduce your stress levels.
Some ways to reduce the effects of stress on your body include getting plenty of exercises and eating a healthy diet. Try to minimize your intake of caffeine and sugar and work with your doctor if you find that medication is impacting your health. You can also implement some relaxation techniques like yoga and massage, which can help you to relax.
It is also important to work with your dentist to achieve and maintain good oral health. In addition to professional cleanings and exams, your dentist may recommend some cosmetic treatments to improve your smile and overall confidence.
Call Dr. Ronald F. Jacob, DMD, at (386) 445-6111 if you wish to learn more about ways to maintain good oral health. We are located at 17 Old King's Road N, Palm Coast, FL 32137. If you have any questions, give our dental office a call. We're happy to answer them.