How Does Stress Hurt Gum Health?

Many of us feel overwhelmed or stressed every now and then. But prolonged stress can exert strain on your body that may lead to medical problems. You might not know that stress may also affect your oral health, especially your gums.

Preventative oral health care both at home and at your dentist’s office will protect your gums and the rest of your smile from serious damage. But if you do not address lingering stress, you could face irreversible damage to your periodontal health.

When you understand the risks that come with stress, you can feel more inclined to take action and reduce it in your life. Read on to learn how heightened stress levels can put your gum health in danger if you are not careful.

How Does Stress Hurt Gum Health

Stress Makes Immune System Vulnerable

Under stress, your body will automatically produce the hormone cortisol. It boosts your immune system and lowers inflammation throughout your body. While beneficial in an acute sense, prolonged stress over a longer period of time will mean that your body will adjust to cortisol. Then your immune system will not find the hormone as useful and will not respond as well as it should to germs and bacteria.

This leaves you in greater danger of infections, including oral ones like gum disease. This infection affects the gum tissue. And with a weaker immune system due to high stress, you will see more adverse effects from gum disease.

Symptoms you might notice include more inflammation and irritation in the gums, as well as worse bleeding, soreness, and swelling. Even with a strong immune system, gum disease will require intervention from a dentist to treat it. Do not delay seeking periodontal therapy if you see changes in your gum health.

Lapsed Oral Hygiene Habits

If you feel stressed, you may feel tempted to skip some of your usual routines as an attempt to redirect your attention and lower said stress. This may mean you do not brush your teeth or floss as often as you must in order to maintain good oral health.

Your oral hygiene regimen scrubs away excess plaque and bacteria that naturally form in your mouth. If you do not do this as often as you should, bacteria can spread across your teeth and infect the gum tissue.

Contracting gum disease may increase your already high stress levels due to periodontal discomfort and the need for dental intervention. Avoid the infection in the first place by adhering to a thorough and consistent oral hygiene routine.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth refers to a condition in which your mouth produces less saliva and leaves your mouth feeling sticky, tacky, and dry. Not only will this feel uncomfortable, but it also increases your risk of contracting gum disease.

The dry environment allows bacteria to travel with greater ease. Then they can more easily reach your gums and infect them. So you want to avoid dry mouth to prevent gum disease.

Stress can suspend digestion, reducing saliva production and therefore giving you dry mouth. So take action to lower stress, fight dry mouth, and preserve your oral health.