The Unexpected Way Stress Can Affect Your Gum Health

It's no secret stress can affect your mental health, but many people may not know it can also affect your gum health. According to the American Psychological Association, stress affects all systems in the body, including nervous, reproductive, respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems.

While our bodies are made to handle stress, long-term stress can be detrimental to one's overall health. For example, in the musculoskeletal system, muscle pain in the lower back and upper extremities has been linked to job stress. Additionally, stress causes one's heart rate to increase, and if that's consistent for too long, it can increase one's risk of a stroke, heart attack, or hypertension.

Stress affects everyone differently, so there are dozens of symptoms of stress. Mayo Clinic reports that stress affects your mood by causing feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, restlessness, and irritability. Physical stress symptoms may look like headaches or fatigue, while behavioral symptoms may include social withdrawal or angry outbursts.

Stress and gum health

Your immune system helps your body fight off disease and infections. Because stress affects the whole body, this can weaken your immune system, affecting your gum health. Olympia Fields Dental Associates reports when your immune system is weakened, it gives the bad bacteria in your mouth an opportunity to damage your gums. This damage can lead to infections of the gums like gingivitis, or mouth sores such as ulcers. When caught in its earlier stages, gingivitis is relatively easy to treat. If the condition is left untreated, it may result in more serious gum disease.

If you're feeling stressed, take care of your health to help prevent any potential health issues. According to Rocky Mountain Periodontal Specialists L.L.C, you should reduce your caffeine and alcohol consumption, exercise regularly, and stop smoking to help protect your gums from stress. Additionally, practice deep breathing techniques and yoga or meditation to help destress your body.