During this pandemic we have had to adjust our lifestyles and rethink the way we complete basic tasks. Every person and circumstance will vary, from people in our community being made redundant, to parents and carers having to become teachers from home. With so much unprecedented change occurring, we do our best to adapt and manage. It is important to address at this time the effect that stress can have on the oral environment. Research explains the systemic effects of stress but also gives us an insight into how stress can present itself (Kaur, Nain 2019).
Literature has revealed that stress is a risk factor for periodontal and cardiovascular diseases. When stress presents, we fight to cope and eliminate it. Despite our best-efforts research has found an increase in behavioural changes that are adopted to deal with stress. Behaviours such as binge-watching TV, consuming an unhealthy diet and increasing smoking and alcohol consumption (Kaur, Nain 2019). These habits eventually can lead to serious physical and mental health concerns.
Through the process of stress, it was observed that adrenaline and cortisol levels rise, supressing the immune system (Kaur, Nain 2019). With a suppressed immune system bacterial growth is seen, serving as a direct risk factor for gum disease.
It was also observed that patients with TMJ pain were clenching and grinding through stressful times. Clenching and grinding can also place excess stress on teeth increasing the risk of cracked teeth, recession and sensitivity (Kaur, Nain 2019).
It is important that through this time we are doing our best to keep on top of our oral hygiene practices. These include:
- Brushing 2 times per day with soft toothbrush using ½ tooth ½ gum circular motion rule
- Flossing nightly
- Having water after each meal to help neutralise oral environment and remove residue debris.
Remember we are here to help with your dental health, so if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to call the Frankston dental experts here at Beachside Complete Dental Care.
S. Kaur, J, Nain 2019, ‘Effects of Stress on the Oral Health’, Journal of Advanced Medical and Dental Sciences Research, vol.7, edn.3, pp.118-122.