Tax Day Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

Posted on April 15, 2015 in General oral health

Tax TipEvery year as April 15 approaches, we can all get a little stressed and frazzled as we work to file our taxes by the deadline.  Even though Tax Day can be stressful, it's important to take the time to de-stress and learn how stress can affect your teeth.

Stress can impact your oral health and possibly cause gum disease to progress faster in people who have it. People under the strain of life events are more likely to grind their teeth, clench their jaws and neglect daily brushing and flossing.

“It's a troublesome combination,” said Katina Spadoni, DDS, dental director for Delta Dental Plan of Illinois. “Immunity is suppressed by stress, meaning it's harder to fight inflammation and infections.  Meanwhile, when someone is distracted, it's easy to forget to brush, and the stress can lead to teeth grinding at night.”

The immune-suppressing effect of stress is well established, and doctors have speculated that a compromised immune system leaves the inflammation and infection of gum disease unchecked. Research demonstrates that stress may be one of many risk factors for gum disease.1

“We can't say that stress causes gum disease – bacteria cause gum disease. But the body's ability to manage bacteria is affected by stress, which is why we have to look out for oral health when we're under pressure,” Dr. Spadoni said.

Reducing your stress level can greatly benefit your oral health as well as your overall health.  Some simple ways to help you de-stress include:

  • Talking with a close friend or family member
  • Setting realistic goals at home and at work
  • Exercising on a regular basis
  • Eating regular, well-balanced meals
  • Getting a good night’s rest
  • Meditating
  • Participating in sports, events or hobbies2

In addition to reducing your stress level, be sure to also maintain good oral health habits, such as brushing teeth twice and flossing once every day and visiting the dentist on a regular basis.  How do you de-stress?  Tell us in the comments!