Worry, anxiety, stress, and depression can all lead to oral health problems. Your emotional well-being not only impacts your overall health and wellness, it can absolutely affect your teeth and gums too. When you visit a holistic dentistry practice, don’t be surprised to be asked questions about all aspects of your life, including your mental health. Insight into your state of mind gives your holistic dentist a greater understanding of any oral health problems you may have or symptoms you are experiencing.
4 Ways Worry Can Ruin Your Teeth and Gums
Worry and anxiety may be emotions that you feel, but the side effects of these heightened emotional states can be found in your mouth. You might not be aware that your teeth are suffering, but your holistic dentist will notice that something is not right.
Here are just some of the things that could be damaging your oral health because of your stress:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth. Everyone holds stress in different places – their neck, back, shoulders, and, for many, their mouth. During waking hours, you may be clenching your jaw without realizing it. While you sleep, you may be grinding your teeth so terribly that your enamel is wearing down and becoming susceptible to cracks and decay. Teeth grinding can also cause morning headaches, pain in the jaw and teeth, and gum recession.
- Poor immunity: Worried people are more likely to get sick. Your immune system feels the worry within your system and doesn’t work as hard as it should. As a result, you may find yourself fighting colds and other viruses or infections quite often. Mouth sores can develop. You may neglect essential oral health care. And bacteria will take any opportunity to settle into your mouth and wreak havoc.
- Tooth decay. People who are emotionally distraught may find themselves neglecting basic oral health care, which means teeth and gums suffer. Flossing your teeth may feel like one more annoying thing you must do, or it may not even register as a task you should be tending to every day. Anxiety can have people shying away from daily life, including dental check-ups and cleanings every six months. This kind of behavior means tooth decay, cavities, and, eventually, periodontal disease and tooth loss are more likely.
- Poor saliva production. Did you know that high levels of stress hormones can affect your saliva production? When your mouth is dry, bacteria has room to take over. And a dry mouth combined with poor brushing and flossing and avoiding the dentist is a serious problem. If your anxiety is being treated with medications, these substances can also alter saliva production, making tooth decay far more likely.
If your worry and anxiety are keeping you from the dentist – whether it’s the dentist that makes you nervous or whether you are struggling in part of your life – remember that your holistic dentist is on your side. We do everything possible to make your dental experience calm and comfortable. Sedation dentistry is available so you can have an no-stress dental visit.
Don’t let your emotions get in the way of tending to your overall health and well-being – keeping yourself operating properly is an important milestone on the road to feeling good with no worries. Make your appointment with holistic dentist Dr. Yolanda Cintron at the International Center for Dental Excellence in Fort Lauderdale to discuss any concerns you have about your oral health.