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How Chronic Stress Impacts Oral and Overall Health

added on: October 18, 2017
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Did you know that completely eliminating stress from your life is actually harmful to your health? You actually need stress in your life now and then so that your body emits the proper reaction when it’s subjected to a challenging situation.

How Does Stress Work?

When your body and mind perceives itself to be entering into a stressful situation, there’s a common reaction among all humans. We secrete the hormone known as cortisol and it makes us feel that common “flight or fight” response and enters the body into a state of survival.

If there’s part of your body that isn’t essential fighting the threat, your body tunes it out to increase energy and strength elsewhere. This is perfect and essential for the short term, but if this continues to occur on a long-term basis, it can be harmful to your smile and your entire body.

What is Chronic Stress?

Unfortunately, chronic stress is all too common among American adults. This means people are living in a constant of near panic or feeling on “red alert.” This means cortisol levels are at a constant high, leaving the body susceptible to potential damage to your cells and overall chronic inflammation. Your body’s immune system is also at risk because your DHEA hormone release is inhibited making it more difficult to self-heal.

How Does Chronic Stress Impact My Oral Health?

Studies show that stress can play a role in periodontal disease. Experimental & Molecular Medicine highlighted results showing behavioral changes and increased corticosteroid levels in animals with periodontal disease. The animals also experienced jawbone deterioration, decreases in the periodontal pockets or areas surrounding the teeth, and an enhanced inflammatory reaction.

How Does Chronic Stress Impact Your Whole Body?

Studies show that people living in a high-stress environment are more susceptible to:

  • Weight issues
  • Increased blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Damage to the brain’s memory center

There are so many ways stress can impact your entire body as well as damage your oral health functions. Let’s talk about some ways you can naturally manage your stress, feel better, and look great.

Tips for Managing Your Stress

  1. Exercise We can’t stress (no pun intended) this tip enough. It’s so important that you maintain some sort of regular exercise routine. One of the most effective types of working out to help combat stress is doing yoga. Through the art of stretching and guided breathing, you can lower stress levels easily. The breathing techniques you learn during yoga can be a great go-to tool anytime you feel yourself starting to stress out.
  1. Diet Along with getting the right amount of exercise, having a healthy diet is also extremely crucial at warding off stress. Try increasing your intake of whole, unprocessed foods such fruits, vegetables, and grains. If possible, make an attempt to phase caffeine, alcohol, and sugar out of your diet. This will help your mind and body remain balanced and focused.
  1. Vitamins Some people find that regularly taking a multivitamin rich in vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, and B-complex vitamins is also helpful in combating rising stress levels. With the proper diet and vitamin intake, stress levels can be minimized without a further compromise to your oral and overall health.

There’s no silver bullet theory for managing stress. It takes a patience and dedication to help you feel calm and relaxed. Please know that the entire holistic dental care team at All About Smiles in Wilmington is here to help you enjoy all the benefits of a healthy smile and a calm state of wellbeing. Give our office a call at (302) 239-1641. We’d be happy to schedule an appointment to discuss your needs and concerns.


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