Stress and Oral Health in Prescott
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Believe it or not, stress can have a big impact on the overall health of your mouth. At Prescott Dentistry, we believe that the health of the body and the mouth are connected- that what’s happening in the mouth is a reflection of what’s happening in the whole body. We often think about the effects of stress on the rest of the body, while ignoring stress and oral health. Here are some things to be mindful of in times of stress.
When we experience stress, our immune systems are compromised, in part, because stress depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals. Stress also causes the hormones in the body to produce less saliva. And saliva contains important bacteria-fighting elements, so as saliva production decreases, its ability to fight off infections in the mouth diminishes. Infections in the mouth can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease, as well as increase your risk for things like cardiovascular disease and stroke. Decreased saliva can also lead to a chronically dry mouth, which allows plaque to build up.
Stress can also lead to bruxism, or tooth grinding in your sleep. Since you may not even be aware that your teeth and jaw are working overtime while you’re sleeping, symptoms to look for are headaches, unexplained facial pain, a sore jaw, neck aches, and earaches. If you are experiencing any of these, let us know. A mouthguard may be necessary, or we can discuss other ways to minimize damage.
Nutrition and Stress
Stress also often negatively impacts the way that we eat, which in turn greatly affects our oral health. We all know sugar is bad for our teeth. But what you might not know is that highly processed foods that are high in sugar and fat are more likely to create an acidic environment in the mouth. That acidic environment creates the ideal situation for bacteria to grow. Acid it can strip the enamel, which serves as a protective layer for the teeth, making your teeth more susceptible to bacteria. Eating foods rich in calcium and magnesium, especially during times of stress, is important to prevent this acidity from developing. Green leafy vegetables and bananas are great sources of these essential minerals.
The good news? Here at Prescott Dentistry, we care about your overall health. And we understand that everyone experiences stress. Though it will never be completely eliminated, there are things you can do to manage the effects of stress on the mouth. When we are stressed, oral care at home might be one of the first things we let go of—so remember to make your dental hygiene a priority and continue to visit us for your routine visits twice a year. Prevention is always the best medicine. We also provide complimentary comfort items to ensure that your dental visit isn’t adding to your stress! Ask us about more ways to manage stress and oral health at your next appointment!