Stress is your body’s response to what is perceived as a threat or dangerous situation. This usually occurs when you are overwhelmed and unable to cope effectively with a given situation. Some common causes of stress include work, relationships, school, family, finances, and illness. Stress can be caused by both positive and negative events. When a negative event happens, the body releases hormones that cause physical symptoms like headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, and sleep problems. These symptoms can make it more difficult to manage your oral health.
If you do not take care of your teeth and gums while you are stressed, you risk getting a tooth infection that could lead to pain, sensitivity, and even tooth loss. Make sure you brush twice a day for two minutes each time, floss daily, and schedule regular checkups and cleanings with your Livermore dentist.
When you feel stressed, your heart rate may increase and your blood pressure may go up by causing inflammation in your body. Additionally, stress can affect your sleeping habits. It can be easy to lose sleep when you are under a lot of emotional or physical pressure. Sleep is an important aspect of your health because it gives the body and brain a chance to rest and recharge for the next day. When you don’t get enough sleep each night, you may be more likely to have oral health problems including mouth sores, dry mouth, and increased plaque buildup. You may also experience headaches due to jaw strain if you are grinding your teeth while asleep.
When you’re stressed, your body responds with a reaction known as the “fight or flight” response. This activates your sympathetic nervous system and prepares you for a potentially dangerous situation. While anxiety is a natural reaction that helps us avoid danger, it can become problematic if it becomes excessive or chronic in nature. You may be particularly prone to episodes of anxiety in response to certain situations — such as feeling nervous visiting the dentist if you’re afraid of receiving dental care.
Another way in which stress and anxiety affect our oral health is through its effect on sleep habits. When we’re under chronic stress, we tend to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. Lack of sleep leads to a host of negative effects on our health, including issues with alertness and focus, memory problems, weight gain, high blood pressure, and more. A lack of sleep can also exacerbate feelings of stress. Your body needs adequate rest in order to restore itself, and the ability to get more restful sleep is often an important part of a patient’s treatment process.
If you are suffering from high levels of anxiety, it’s important to work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that helps you manage these feelings and minimize their effect on your overall well-being. Dental treatments like sedation dentistry can help you put your fears at ease during procedures. If you’re experiencing problems with anxiety in the months leading up to procedures, your doctor may be able to recommend alternative approaches to care that can reduce your need for treatment.
If you suffer from chronic stress and anxiety, consider paying more attention to your diet as well; certain foods are known to help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. Consider cutting caffeine from your diet in favor of healthy herbal teas, which also contain antioxidants that can help fight oxidative stress and reduce symptoms associated with depression.
To learn more, schedule a consultation with one of our dentists today! We would be happy to discuss these treatments and determine which one is right for you. Call 925-292-1459 and book your appointment.