If you feel stressed, you can start to feel overwhelmed in multiple aspects of your life. Stress also takes a toll on your body and can put you in danger of many medical concerns. You might not realize that one area that stress can hurt in particular is your gums.
High levels of stress may impact your gum health in many ways. If this connective tissue that keeps your teeth in place in the mouth suffers damage, you could face irreversible structural and cosmetic problems in your smile.
Knowing about these dangers can motivate you to take action to reduce stress and protect your smile. So read on to discover three periodontal health concerns that may develop due to heightened stress levels.
Weakened Immune System
When you experience stress, your body automatically begins to generate a hormone called cortisol. This hormone gives the immune system a boost in the wake of the excess strain on the body under stress. While acutely helpful, your body will get used to cortisol after a while, which will leave your immune system vulnerable.
This means that you could have a higher risk of contracting infections if you experience long-term stress. You could be more likely to contract gum disease, for instance, an infection that affects the gum tissue.
This infection will not go away on its own. Your dentist can manage gum disease with periodontal therapy, but ideally, you should avoid contracting it in the first place. This means addressing risk factors like high stress levels.
Neglected Oral Hygiene Regimen
If you feel stressed, you might feel tempted to skip some of your usual routines in order to redirect your focus and relieve some of this stress. One of these routines might be oral hygiene. But if you do not brush your teeth or floss as often as you should, you will put your oral health in serious danger.
Skipped oral hygiene regimens mean that plaque and other harmful residues will linger on your teeth. This will allow excess bacteria to thrive and spread across your mouth with greater ease. Then bacteria can easily infect your gums.
Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss each day so that you remove these lingering residues. Or you will risk severe and irreversible damage to your gums and the rest of your smile.
Prone to Dry Mouth
Stress hormones will have additional effects on your body, such as the slowing of digestion. As a result, you will produce less saliva than usual, which will leave you with dry mouth. Not only will a dry oral environment feel uncomfortable, but it will also allow bacteria to travel freely through your mouth, increasing your risk of oral infections like gum disease.
You can counteract dry mouth by staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water. But you should also address the underlying factor of increased stress levels. Find more preventative dental care to avoid gum disease and protect your smile by talking to your dentist.