April is Stress Awareness Month across the nation, and people everywhere are taking the time to pause and consider the impact of stress upon their health. What you may not know is that stress also takes a toll on a person’s oral health. For starters, people who are under severe stress typically focus less on their oral hygiene. Many of them brush less often and put less care into their daily routines of flossing or plaque removal. In addition, stress can exacerbate a person’s bad habits, like smoking or grinding. Grinding is responsible for wearing teeth down and can have serious repercussions on someone’s enamel strength.
It has also been shown that emotional stress causes some people to eat more junk food and sweets. Naturally, a poor diet that is high in sugar contributes to tooth decay. Combined with a reduction in oral hygiene, consuming sugary foods can spell disaster for a person’s oral health. Lastly, stress has also been linked to an increase in infections, including gum disease, canker sores, and dry mouth. If you have noticed any of these symptoms and feel it could be related to stress, talk to your dentist about possible treatments. He or she can recommend ways to relieve stress and increase your oral hygiene regimen to prevent further damage.