Have you been feeling overwhelmed lately? Excess stress can create strain throughout your body and put many aspects of your health at risk. But you might not realize that increased stress could harm your oral health, and your gums in particular.
If you continue experiencing chronic stress, you could face a higher chance of contracting gum disease for a number of reasons. Seek preventative dental care and address underlying factors contributing to stress to protect your gums and avoid irreversible dental damage.
You can feel more encouraged to reduce your stress when you know more about the threats it can pose to your gums. Read on to learn about three ways that heightened levels of stress can endanger your periodontal health.
Weakened Immune System Heightens Risk of Oral Infections
Under stress, your body automatically generates a specific hormone called cortisol as a response. Cortisol provides a short-term boost to your immune system, but if you experience persistent stress, your body adjusts to cortisol so that the immune system will respond less effectively to germs and bacteria.
Then you can be more susceptible to infections, including gum disease. The infection of your gum tissue can present with soreness, swelling, and bleeding in the gums. With a weakened immune system, you may notice even worse effects of this inflammation.
Even with a strong immune system, you will need periodontal therapy from your dentist to treat gum disease. It does not go away of its own accord. Do not delay gum disease treatment because the infection progresses without dental intervention.
Side Effects Like Dry Mouth
Increased stress levels can affect many factors in your body, including the slowing of the digestion process. As a result, you can notice less saliva production in the mouth, which can lead to a dry oral environment. Not only does dry mouth feel uncomfortable, but it also makes it easier for oral bacteria to spread.
Then bacteria can reach your gums and have a higher chance of infecting them. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist and fight this risk factor for gum disease. But you should also address underlying causes of dry mouth, including high amounts of stress.
Neglected Oral Health Care
When feeling stressed, you might desire to skip certain routines to give yourself a breather. You should make sure you do not neglect to adhere to a consistent oral hygiene regimen though.
Brushing and flossing your teeth removes plaque developments that can encourage bacterial spread. If left on your smile, plaque allows bacteria to travel easily to your gums and infect them. Good oral hygiene also means attending regular professional dental cleanings to get rid of stubborn plaque and tartar.
Then if you do contract gum disease, you may need additional dental work that can contribute to further stress. Avoid the infection in the first place by practicing good preventative oral health care. This refers to both at-home oral hygiene and in-office visits to your dentist.