How Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

Many people experience stress every day, and it can wreak havoc on overall health. It can cause everything from heart problems to poor digestion. But did you know it can also affect your oral health? 

When you are stressed, your body becomes more alert and ready for action. You may notice your heart racing and your breathing becoming deeper and faster. You may also notice that your muscles become tenser. All of these reactions of the human body are normal responses to stress. However, this "fight or flight" response can be harmful in excess.

In addition to all of the changes that you can see and feel in your body, stress also causes the body to produce more cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone secreted from the adrenal gland that regulates blood pressure and metabolism. It's responsible for controlling blood sugar levels and keeping the immune system working smoothly. It also assists in memory formation and learning.

In a healthy body, cortisol levels should peak in the morning and then taper off throughout the day. This keeps the body stable so that it doesn't fluctuate wildly throughout the day and night. High levels of cortisol over a long period of time can put a lot of stress on the body and can cause a wide range of health problems, including diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and even heart disease.

If you suffer from chronic stress, it's important to find a way to manage it so that you can prevent long-term damage to your body. Reducing stress in your life can improve your physical well-being and keep your teeth and mouth healthy as well. 

Tips to Manage Stress

There are several things you can do to manage stress and minimize its effects on your oral health, such as:

Focus on your breathing: When you're stressed, it's easy to hold your breath without even realizing it. Instead of holding your breath, focus on taking deep breaths through your nose and out of your mouth for eight seconds at a time until you begin to feel calmer.

Exercise: Working out is one of the best ways to combat stress. Not only does it release endorphins that help you relax, but it also tires you out, so you're not thinking about whatever is making you stressed out in the first place!

Practice mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves focusing the mind on the present. When you practice mindfulness, you forget about your worries and focus on the present moment instead. If you find your mind wandering to something else, simply bring your thoughts back to the present moment. By focusing on what's happening right now, you can distract yourself from whatever it is that's stressing you out so much.

Practice positive self-talk: During times of stress, we tend to only think about all the bad things that could happen in the future or about the past mistakes we've made. But instead of thinking these negative thoughts, try saying to yourself, "This will pass."

At Dynamic Dental Services, we offer the best dental care possible to each of our patients in a positive and relaxing environment. If you're ready to experience the best dental care, please contact us at (773) 538-6191 or visit us at 5401 S. WENTWORTH AVE. #200, Chicago, IL 60609. 

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