Home » Studies Unravel the Curious Link between Stress and Oral Health
Studies Unravel the Curious Link between Stress and Oral Health

Studies Unravel the Curious Link between Stress and Oral Health

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Stress is a normal part of life but only a few would suspect that it’s related to oral health.

When stressors like family troubles, finances and work demands get overwhelming, they take a toll on our physical (including oral) and mental health. Take a moment to recall how you usually react to stressful situations. Do you manage them well?

Studies have shown that there’s a connection between stress and oral health. To sum up the results: stress due to finances significantly increased the risk of periodontal diseases among adult subjects.

Below further explains the relationship between periodontal problems and stress.

1. Stress makes it easy to develop harmful habits. 

Do you consume a whole pack of cigarette or finish an entire bottle of wine when you’re stressed out? Under stress, it is often easy to give in to negative habits such as heavy smoking and drinking, which can harm your oral health over time. Mindfulness, willingness to change, and de-stressing techniques are needed to undo, if not avoid, awful habits. For others, fixing the source of the stress works just as well. When you discontinue the nasty smoking habit, you might not have to pay for teeth whitening later.

2. When stressed out, it’s easy to neglect proper oral hygiene.

Do you have simultaneous deadlines to beat? Besides neglecting rest and relaxation, you are probably skipping proper dental hygiene, too. Most people under tremendous stress forget or ignore good oral practices such as rinsing, brushing, and flossing. This commonly leads to a host of oral health problems such as plaques and gum diseases. When under extreme stress, remember that brushing or flossing can be a good excuse to take that necessary 15-minute break.

3. High stress hormones can result to poor food choices.

Stressful situations make us reach for chocolate, cookies, and other sugary treats. This is what happens when we let our cravings decide. While sweet goodies boost our mood, calm our nerves and decrease our anxieties, our energy level hits a crashing low soon after. These types of foods, as we know, are always bad for our teeth. The trick is not quitting, it’s switching. Keep sugary foods away while making fresh fruits accessible – especially when you are under great mental stress.

4. Stress may cause the outbreak of canker sores.

Though researchers point out no single cause of canker sores, mental stress and psychological disturbances are unquestionably some of the possible triggers. Experts have observed a pattern as to when these ulcers or lesions occur in patients. Mouth sores often appear right after intense emotional stress or during situations that require rapid adjustment such as first week in the boarding school, a new job, or new neighborhood. No wonder these irksome mouth sores seem to magically disappear as soon as we have managed our biggest stressor.

5. Emotional distress can cause bothersome teeth grinding.

Studies show that there is a link between one’s vulnerability to daily stress and teeth grinding. Hence, before you see an ENT, you might want to check how stressed-out you have been lately and come up with adequate ways to cope with these stressful circumstances. While teeth grinding is not a fatal disorder, you risk having terrible headaches, ear and jaw pain, or permanent teeth damage if you don’t do something about this problem.

Image Courtesy: Brandon Heyer/flickr

Stress is a normal part of life but only a few would suspect that it’s related to oral health. When stressors like family troubles, finances and work demands get overwhelming, they take a toll on our physical (including oral) and mental health. Take a moment to recall how you usually react to stressful situations. Do ...

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