How Does Stress Affect the Gums?

Feeling overwhelmed lately? You likely know that stress can take a toll on your well-being and may lead to medical concerns. But chronic stress may also negatively impact your oral health, especially your gums.

This connective tissue keeps your teeth in place in your smile. If your gums begin to deteriorate due to gum disease or other periodontal concerns, your entire smile could suffer consequences.

Protect your gums by reducing stress and receiving preventative oral health care from your dentist. Read on to learn details about three different ways that high levels of stress may endanger the health of your gums so that you can better avoid these issues.

How Does Stress Affect the Gums

Chronic Stress Weakens Immune System

When you feel stressed, your body will automatically release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol provides a short boost to your immune system in this period of strain. While useful in an acute sense, your body will adjust to cortisol if you endure chronic stress. Then your immune system will weaken, and you cannot fight off germs and bacteria the way you should.

As a result, you could face a greater risk of contracting infections including gum disease. And you may experience worse symptoms related to this gum infection, including inflammation and irritation.

Even with a healthy immune system, you will need intervention from your dentist to treat gum disease. So do not delay telling your dentist about changes in your periodontal health. And try to protect your gums by addressing potential risk factors, like high stress levels.

Increased Risk of Dry Mouth

Stress will affect many different systems in your body, including slowing digestion. Because of this effect, you will produce less saliva and may experience dry mouth. Not only will this feel unpleasant, but the dry oral environment also allows bacteria to travel with greater ease.

Bacteria can reach the gums and infect them, meaning you face a high danger of gum disease. You can drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist and reduce the risk of oral infection. But you should also address the underlying cause of dry mouth to protect your gum health.

Neglected Oral Health Care

If you feel stressed, you might want to skip some of your usual routines in an effort to alleviate some of the strain. However, you should not neglect your oral hygiene regimen. You must remove plaque and other naturally accruing build-up from your smile by brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing.

Otherwise, bacteria will eat away at your dental structure and can also easily spread to hurt your gums. This can cause lasting damage to your smile that may require extra dental work to fix. In the long run, this dental restoration may cause you even further stress.

So make sure you continue your consistent, thorough oral hygiene routine. You should also attend regular dental check-ups as your dentist recommends to maximize oral hygiene with a professional teeth cleaning. Your dentist will monitor your gum health during these visits, so do not avoid them if you want to promote healthy gums.