Stress is the body’s way of responding to any situation that demands a reaction. The body responds to stressors by releasing adrenaline that causes your fight-or-flight response. The sympathetic nervous system kicks in and prepares your body to respond to stress by increasing heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, blood flow to muscles, and other physiological responses. This can cause feelings of worry and anxiety.
While too much stress isn’t good for your overall health, it’s particularly harmful to your oral health. The link between stress and oral health is a two-way street—both can cause the other to worsen.
When you feel stressed, you may grind your teeth or clench your jaw as a way to cope with that anxiety. This puts a lot of force on your teeth and can lead to fracturing or even chipping. It’s not just grinding that causes problems—snoring and sleep apnea can also be linked to higher levels of stress and anxiety.
If left untreated, these forces can eventually cause you pain and even more serious problems like TMJ disorder, which can be treated only by a dentist. Additionally, many of the other health conditions related to stress are also dangerous to your oral health, such as diabetes. If you have diabetes, you’re at a higher risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss.
Fortunately, there are several things that can help treat and prevent these problems from occurring. Your best bet is to try to avoid stressful situations in the first place—or at least take measures to reduce your stress levels when situations arise. Exercise is a great stress reliever, so try to do that regularly. You can also try meditation or other relaxation techniques, like deep breathing. If that doesn’t work, you may want to talk to a therapist about ways to manage your stress. You can also avoid things that often trigger stress for you; for example, if you face stress at work, try to come up with solutions to prevent it from happening in the future.
The Dentist in Atlanta, GA, and the team are happy to explain the dental treatments offered at the practice in detail. If you would like to learn more about our dental services or dental care tips, we invite you to give us a call at (404) 255-4575 and schedule a consultation.