Is Stress and or Anxiety Causing Your Dry Mouth? 7 Tips to Reduce It.

Hi everyone

In today's episode, I’m going over the question.....

Is stress causing your dry mouth?

I'm Dr. Anna 

and In the next few minutes you are going to learn…

How stress affects dry mouth and 7 tips to reduce it. 

Head over to www.mysmilegenius.com to get the

Free Dry Mouth eBook and other resources to help you with dry mouth. 

With that being said

👉👉 Do you feel stressed? What do you typically do to relax?

Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to like this video and share it with anyone you think can benefit from it.

The short answer to the question is:

Yes, stress can cause and or contribute to dry mouth. (1)

What is stress?

Stress is our mind and body’s reaction to an outside stressor. 

There is good stress and bad stress. Good stress includes events which put pressure on us but in general bring us joy such as getting married, having a baby. Bad stress includes emotional pressure associated with more unpleasant events such as a death in the family, divorce, loss of employment etc.  

Therefore, much of how we experience stress depends on how we interpret the events that are causing it and how we are ultimately affected by them.

There are short and long-term effects of stress. Short term effects include dry mouth, dry eye, increased heart rate, sweaty palms, upset stomach. Long term effects include anxiety and depression, diabetes, cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, weakened immune system, hormone changes, psoriasis, asthma etc.

Why does stress cause dry mouth? 

Survival mode:

When we face a scary or threatening situation, our body switches into “survival mode” also known as the flight and flight response. In this situation the body diverts most of its energy to most important functions of the body to deal with the threat. Because saliva is not essential for survival, the body does not produce as much of it as it usually does in a relaxed state.  Public speaking is a great example. Most of us perceive the activity of public speaking as a very scary situation, as a result we begin to sweat, our heart races, and our mouth gets dry, among other things.

Medications:

Somme individuals who experience stress and or anxiety do take medications to help them with the condition. While these medications are helpful in reducing anxiety, many of them do have the side effect of causing dry mouth.

Medical conditions

Stress triggers and or contributes to some medical conditions including depression, autoimmune diseases such as Lichen Planus, diabetes, cardiovascular disfunctions. These and other conditions either in themselves cause dry mouth or the medications that are used to treat them cause the dry mouth. (2)  

 

How do we relieve stress?

 

First, make sure to see your doctor to discuss what you had been experiencing. There are many things that can cause us to experience sadness, anxiety, depression etc. Sometimes it is a condition which can be managed with self-help or counseling, but there are certain situations, such as clinical depression, which has to be managed with medications and under the supervision of a physician. Always consult your doctor about your specific situation and follow your doctor’s advice.

Some of the additional ways which you can manage stress:

1) Perspective:

Stress and difficult situations will always be a part of life, but we can change the way we look at them. We can view these situations either from a victim mentality. It is a helpless position where we assume we have no control of what is happening to us. Or we can view the situations from the perspective of control where we take responsibility for life events, even those that in every way appear are outside of our influence. By believing we can change our circumstances we will be open to new solutions, experience a sense of empowerment and peace. We can always choose how we manage and react to a situation, to view it as a learning experience, something that is temporary and is dependent on how we handle it.

2) Meditation/yoga 

Regular meditation and or yoga practices are great for mental and physical stress relief. Even though initially they seem difficult and strenuous, as you practice you will notice you are more in touch with your thoughts and body, which will give you the skill needed calm them in trying situations. I personally attend meditative yoga every Friday and Sunday, and spend 10 minutes per day meditating before going to bed. It helps me put my thoughts and emotions in perspective and teaches me relaxation techniques which I use every day.

3) Self-awareness:

It refers to the state in which we are aware of our mindset, thoughts and feelings throughout the day. Often, we are not aware we are stressed or that our bodies are tense, later to experience feeling of burnout and fatigue. If we train ourselves to recognize signs of stress and tension we can act on them through exercising relaxation techniques, even as simple as closing your eyes and taking 5 deep breaths. This action will signal your brain and muscles to relax and allow you to handle the situation with a calmer mindset.  TO give you an example of self -awareness… I often see patients who complain of tooth pain, but upon examination I find no dental disease. I then examine the patient’s facial muscles and find they are very tense, even when patient is convinced they do not clench or grind their teeth. Because tension associated with facial muscles can show itself as tooth pain, I ask the patient to monitor their jaw throughout the day and see if they catch themselves clenching. When they come back for a follow up exam, many report having caught themselves clench. When they did they applied relaxation techniques and over time their tooth pain went away. This is a great example of how being self-aware of our bodies can help us identify negative feelings, habits, tensions etc. and address them to feel better and experience relief.

4) Exercise:

Exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels, bring about a good mood, maintain good health etc. Everyone is different and you should do whatever is comfortable for you but make sure you keep moving and building on what you have accomplished. Whether it is going for a 5-minute walk, signing up for a yoga or gym class, hiking, find something that is fun for you and that will keep you going. I used to think exercise is something people talk about but didn’t really believe it can improve the quality of our life. However, I was wrong.  When I started to exercise on a regular basis, as I started to have back pain associated with my job, I noticed I had much more energy throughout the day, I was in a better mood, and, thankfully back pain has gone away.  

5) Sunshine and Nature

Spending 10 minutes in the sunshine will help your body make Vitamin D as well as hormone serotonin which have many great health benefits including improved mood and sleep. Some studies have shown that by spending time in nature such as the beach or the park, also has relaxing, anti-anxiety effects.  

6) Gratitude:

We often get caught up in our daily problems and stresses and tend to focus on everything that is wrong and or missing in our life. Yet, there so many wonderful things to be grateful for. Let’s remind ourselves of them every day. I personally make reminders for myself to do this. My most effective strategy is attaching 3 posted notes on my bathroom mirror, that way I see them every morning and can do the exercise while I am brushing by teeth.   

First posted is a reminder to “Love myself”. It is so important to remind yourself of this.  Love, respect, and acceptance of oneself is the foundation for all the other efforts for self-care and well-being.

Second is a blank list which I fill with 3 things I am grateful for that morning. I try to come up with new things to be grateful for every day so it is not too repetitive.

Third is a blank list which I fill in with things I want to accomplish. I say them in present not future tense; it has been shown that this way puts one in a mindset which best helps actually achieve these things.

7) Diet

Diet plays such an important role in our lives. It has an intimate connection with our mood and health in general. We want to stay away from fried processed, packaged, canned foods and substitute them with fresh or frozen vegetables, especially green vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, beans, wild-caught salmon and mackerel for healthy source of healthy fats such as good omega 6s and 3s. Have you noticed after eating junk food feeling sluggish, thirsty and tired? I always do. It goes to show how important it is to eat healthy.

 

Head over to www.mysmilegenius.com to get the Free Dry Mouth eBook and other resources to help you with dry mouth.

👉👉 Do you feel stressed? What do you typically do to relax? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to like this video and share it with anyone you think can benefit from it.

 

Best Wishes,

Dr. Anna

CEO of Smile Genius

 

😍 Useful Links 😍

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✔️ Visit my website www.mysmilegenius.com

✔️ Read about Dr. Anna and the Mission of Smile Genius: 

https://www.mysmilegenius.com/pages/about-dr-anna-and-smile-genius

 

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References:

  • Gholami N, Hosseini Sabzvari B, Razzaghi A, Salah S. Effect of stress, anxiety and depression on unstimulated salivary flow rate and xerostomia. J Dent Res Dent Clin Dent Prospects. 2017;11(4):247–252.
  • Mariotti A. The effects of chronic stress on health: new insights into the molecular mechanisms of brain-body communication. Future Sci OA. 2015;1(3)

1 comment

  • I love this tips. You are so helpful. Thanks Dr. Anna!

    Nancy Hubbell Belanger

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