The US National Center for Biotechnology Information publishes a study revealing that stress can increase a person’s susceptibility to dental caries and can potentially lead to infections and tooth loss, especially in adolescence. This is because adolescents, particularly students, tend to develop a negative body image, disordered eating behaviours and high levels of stress.
But, recently, researchers have traced the link between oral health and stress. Thanks to this study, we now have a better understanding of the role of mental conditions such as anxiety and depression in the development of dental problems.
Dental Problems Linked to Stress
It turns out that there are several dental problems that have a significant link to stress and other mental conditions. Bruxism or teeth grinding, for example, can also stem from stress. If the condition goes unnoticed and untreated, it could lead to tooth damage.
Tooth grinding may also result in temporomandibular joint disorders such as TMD, while anxiety and depression may trigger TMJ. Another stress-related dental problem is dry mouth, which occurs when the mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva.
This condition is often a common side effect of drugs used to treat depression. Stress could also bring on canker sores, and the pain can even aggravate stress. Stress also increases a person’s risk of developing infections such as periodontal or gum diseases, lichen planus, burning mouth syndrome.
Other Risk Factors
Other dental health risk factors related to stress are neglect of oral hygiene routines such as regular brushing and flossing and frequent eating of sugary and carbohydrate-laden foods that advance tooth decay. Usually, most people with stress by indulging in bad habits that do not really reduce stress.
One way people cope with stress is by smoking, and we all know that smoking has damaging effects on a person’s oral cavity. Overconsumption of coffee, alcohol and other foods that contain caffeine also increase the risk of teeth grinding. Researchers suggest that people who are stressed should de-stress in ways that do not contribute negatively to the body and mind.
Experts encourage people to reduce stress by eating well, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep, enough to relax the body and mind. They also urge people to visit the dentist whenever they suspect that stress is affecting their dental health. Other mental health-related issues such as disordered eating and teeth grinding can be remedied with the use of braces and mouth guards.
We all know that stress greatly affects our physical condition and our brains are powerful enough to influence the state of our physical health. We should always be aware of how certain habits influence our health because they may lead to adverse consequences.