From juggling busy schedules to dealing with difficult bosses and coworkers, stress comes in many forms in the workplace. While occasional work-related stress is normal and even healthy for your career productivity, ongoing stress can lead to a number of health problems. In fact, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Medicine found that chronic stress has a negative impact on oral health by accelerating the tooth decay process and reducing saliva flow in the mouth.
When we’re stressed, our fight or flight response kicks in. This “fight-or-flight” response causes increased heart rate and blood flow throughout the body, including to the mouth. As a result, people may experience dry mouth and increased tooth decay when under stress. Additionally, when people are in distress, they may clench their jaw or grind their teeth due to anxiety. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause serious tooth damage over time. In fact, people who experience bruxism are more likely to develop severe complications such as tooth loss, cracked teeth, and TMJ disorder. Bruxism can also contribute to headaches, earaches, and other debilitating conditions.
The mouth is home to an immense amount of bacteria that feed on sugar and other carbohydrates in the foods and drinks we consume. When these bacteria interact with plaque on the teeth, they produce acids that can slowly erode tooth enamel and cause cavities. In addition to causing oral diseases and disorders, stress can also lead to a wide range of other health problems that can affect the entire body. From heart disease to diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression, these health concerns can make dental care more difficult because the underlying condition is more severe. For this reason, it is critical for people suffering from health conditions of any kind to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help reduce stress in your daily life. Exercise is a great way to help your body release stress and tension. You can also give yourself a break during stressful periods by practicing breathing exercises or meditation. If you simply can’t get away, try taking a short walk around the block or take a moment to stretch at your desk. Even just thinking about something other than your stressors for a few minutes can help clear your mind.
To find out more about the dental services offered at Bucks Dental, call (215)-220-3395 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 1151 S Broad St, Lansdale, PA 19446.