Stress and Your Oral Health in St. Augustine
Stress, a common occurrence in our hectic lives, not only impacts our mental equilibrium but also plays a significant role in our oral health. We aim to shed light on the intricate connection between stress and oral health by exploring the various dental issues associated with stress and providing advice on maintaining a healthy mouth amid stressful situations.
At Anastasia Dental Associates, we know all too well the relationship between stress and poor oral health. We proudly offer a number of dental services to individuals living in St. Augustine to help manage stress and dental health.
The Hidden Connection Between Mental and Oral Health
Stress, anxiety, and depression have a profound impact on our overall physical health, including our oral health. A study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that a significant number of people diagnosed with depression experience toothaches. These same individuals rate their own dental health as mediocre or poor.
Similarly, gum disease shares a strong link with poor mental health. Experts believe that this link is the result of stress wearing down your immune system. This allows harmful bacteria to run rampant in your mouth. Individuals grappling with depression and anxiety need to be extra cautious about their dental hygiene to maintain a healthy mouth.
Stress-Induced Dental Complications
The most prevalent cause behind deteriorating dental health among individuals under stress is the behavioral impact of anxiety and depression. Maintaining a disciplined dental care routine can be daunting while combating mental health conditions, hence the importance of self-reflection to energize oneself for daily tasks. Moreover, people battling depression are prone to unhealthy eating habits and often neglect dental appointments.
Stress also has physiological effects on our bodies. Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol weaken the immune system, facilitating bacterial growth in the gums, leading to inflammation. Meanwhile, certain antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can result in dry mouth where saliva, which is vital to cleanse food remnants, is inadequate.
Let’s look at two of the major dental health issues that commonly occur as a result of stress. At Anastasia Dental Associates, we help individuals in St. Augustine overcome dental health issues that have been brought on as a result of stress.
Stress can result in the appearance of mouth sores, such as canker sores and cold sores. Canker sores are small spots with a red border and a white or grayish base, usually appearing inside the mouth. They’re often linked to stress, although the exact cause remains uncertain.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are fluid-filled blisters that appear around the lips, nose, or chin, caused by the herpes simplex virus. Stress can trigger outbreaks of these sores.
Teeth Grinding and Stress
In response to stress, individuals may clench and grind their teeth, often unconsciously during sleep or even during the daytime. This habit, called bruxism, can worsen during stressful situations if already present, leading to issues with the temporomandibular joint located near the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet.
Caring for Your Teeth Amid Stress
Establishing a dental hygiene routine can be challenging when dealing with depression or anxiety, but it’s crucial to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Brushing twice daily, flossing at least once a day and using mouthwash to rinse off debris and kill bacteria are recommended practices. Individuals can set alarms to remind themselves of their dental care routine.
Addressing Mouth Sores
Canker sores often heal within a week to 10 days. To alleviate discomfort, avoid consuming spicy, hot foods, or foods that are high in acid content. Over-the-counter numbing medications can provide relief.
Cold sores, although self-healing, require treatment since they can spread the virus. Both over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral medications can be effective.
Handling Teeth Grinding
To curb teeth grinding, dentists might recommend a night guard or other dental appliances to be worn during sleep. During the day, though, you should consciously try to keep your teeth slightly apart when not eating.
Give Anastasia Dental Associates a call if you want to set up a dental appointment. Our friendly staff can help you schedule a time for your visit.
The Role of Stress Reduction in Oral Health
While it’s easy for us at Anastasia Dental Associates to fix dental issues that might arise as a result of stress, you still have to deal with the core issue. Stress reduction is a must to keep these dental problems from coming back. Regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and following a healthy diet are some ways to reduce stress.
Taking Control of Your Oral Health
In times of stress, it’s essential to prioritize self-care. This includes practicing good oral hygiene, maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of stress-related oral health issues, schedule an appointment with us at Anastasia Dental Associates. We can devise a treatment plan based on your symptoms, potentially including more frequent dental cleanings, orthodontic treatment or fitting you for a night guard to combat bruxism.
Remember that your oral health is a critical part of your overall well-being. Don’t let stress get in the way of maintaining a healthy mouth. Give us a call today to get dental treatment that you can count on in St. Augustine.