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How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

woman-oral-healthMost people manage stress to some degree on a daily basis, whether stressful situations arise briefly or permeate one’s everyday life. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has generally amplified feelings of stress for the vast majority of the country, which presents a range of potential health issues for individuals in the Bronx and beyond. While stress is a well-known contributor to ailing physical health, demanding situations and feelings of worry/anxiety can also compromise a patient’s oral wellness. Our multispecialty team of dentists often observe the following concerns due, in part, to increased stress:

  • Short, worn teeth or TMJ disorder: Worn teeth — as well as dysfunctional jaw joints — can result from unintentional teeth clenching and grinding, which is often precipitated by stressful situations.
  • Poor lifestyle and eating habits: Smoking, sugary junk food, and alcohol consumption are common coping mechanisms during periods of stress, often leading to an increased risk of gum disease, tooth infections, and other oral health concerns.
  • Lack of daily oral hygiene: People tend to forgo positive health habits — such as daily brushing and flossing — during times of extreme stress, which can heighten the risk of bacteria, decay, and plaque buildup in the mouth.
  • Missed dental appointments: During stressful periods, unscheduled or forgotten semi-annual oral exams can allow mild oral health issues to exacerbate into more painful and costly dental problems.
  • An increased risk of periodontal disease: Higher levels of cortisol and other stress hormones can weaken the immune system, thereby increasing the likelihood of conditions such as advanced periodontal disease.

Our dental professionals understand that stress can be very difficult to manage — especially in today’s global and economic climate. We are committed to providing the compassionate and personalized care that can help you contend with the effects of stress, as well as address any concerns with your smile/oral health. Among our many dental services include periodontal treatment to rid the mouth of bacteria buildup, custom night guards to help mitigate teeth clenching and grinding, and full mouth restoration to repair widespread damage, among many other preventive and rehabilitative solutions.

Managing the pressures of daily life can be difficult, but our New York City-area practice offers personalized treatments to protect your smile and oral health in the face of stressful situations. Don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Victor Oelbaum & Associates to schedule your semi-annual dental appointment, or to speak with a friendly member of our team.