How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

shutterstock_18883186-Custom-300x200

To maintain optimal oral health, a delicate balance must be maintained. The management of plaque bacteria, the way that your teeth fit together, your diet, and the proper function of your immune system must all work together in harmony. When one or more of these factors is affected, your oral health can suffer significantly.

The presence of stress, both physical and emotional, is a factor that can throw off the balance that is necessary for your oral health. Your dentist understands the impact of stress on your teeth and gums. That’s why routine dental visits and periodic exams are so important to your dental and your overall health. These visits provide the opportunity for the diagnosis and management of dental conditions that are beyond your control.

During times of stress, normal irritants such as plaque bacteria may suddenly become extremely irritating to your gum tissue. The result is inflammation, bleeding, redness, and tenderness. Though these are the common characteristics of gingivitis, the onset of these symptoms may occur more rapidly and may not respond as readily to treatment.

For example, it is not uncommon for college students to experience acute gingivitis during final exams, women may experience exaggerated symptoms during menstruation and pregnancy, military personnel are at an increased risk during combat and millions of adults report the onset of symptoms during particularly stressful life events.

Untreated gingivitis and chronic or long-term inflammation can be particularly harmful to your general health. These conditions may lead to irreversible periodontal disease and other systemic diseases. Bleeding and tenderness during times of stress should not be overlooked, and in fact may be an indicator that you may need to practice extra careful oral hygiene as you manage the increased stress.

Remember that your dentist is here to assist you and guide you through the challenges of protecting your oral health. Additional cleanings, medicated mouthrinses, or other changes to your oral hygiene routine may be recommended to prevent damage and soothe your symptoms.

For a personalized examination and the appropriate treatment, contact the Plano dental office of Dr. John M. Hucklebridge.