Effects of Stress on Your Oral Health

Stress certainly has a negative effect on your physical health, but did you know it can cause you to experience problems with your oral health, too? Take a look at some of the dental and oral health problems that can be caused, or at least aggravated, by stress.

Constant or Excessive Teeth Grinding that Causes TMD

People tend to clench their jaws or grind their teeth when they are under a lot of stress. Clenched jaws and grinding teeth may not cause problems at first. However, if you continue to do these things it could lead to a very painful condition known as TMD  (temporomandibular joint disorder).

TMD causes you to experience extreme pain and discomfort when you move your jaw or open or close your mouth. This can cause you to have problems engaging in everyday activities such as talking, yawning, and eating.

Cracked or Broken Teeth Caused by Clenched Teeth or Teeth Grinding

Excessive grinding on your teeth or cleaning your jaw can cause another problem such as broken, chipped or cracked teeth. The teeth crack, chip, or fracture because of the intense stress or force placed on them when you are stressed and grind or clench your teeth.

Increased Amount of Mouth Sores

Mouth sores, like cold sores or canker sores, tend to occur when you are experiencing a lot of stress. It is believed that the sores develop because the stress causes your immune system to be compromised. That makes it easier for bacteria or viruses that are linked to canker sores and cold sores to attack your body.

Dental Problems Occur Due to Poor Oral Hygiene

People who are under a lot of stress tend to unconsciously neglect their oral hygiene. What types of things are neglected when you are stressed will vary from person to person. It can also range from only brushing your teeth once a day to skipping routine dental appointments for professional cleanings, or not brushing and flossing at all.

Failing to keep up with good oral hygiene can cause a number of dental problems. Everything from gingivitis to tooth decay and cavities to advanced gum disease. Abscessed teeth can be caused by not practicing good oral hygiene.

Ways to Avoid Oral Health Problems Caused by Stress

If you want to avoid experiencing oral health problems caused by stress, you need to learn how to manage or deal with stress. This won’t be easy, but if you learn how to manage stress, you will notice changes in your physical and emotional health.

Some ways people have learned to manage their stress include:

  • Eating a healthy diet filled with vitamins and minerals – if your body isn’t getting enough vitamins and minerals it can cause you to feel anxious, stressed, and depressed, which can lead to numerous physical, emotional, and dental problems
  • Using relaxation techniques, such as meditation and breathing exercises, to manage stress
  • Making sure you get plenty of sleep
  • Exercising – regular exercise has been clinically proven to reduce stress
  • Visit a counselor for therapy or to learn valuable stress-relieving techniques

Schedule an Appointment for a Routine Examination and Professional Teeth Cleaning

If you have been under a lot of stress lately you could be experiencing oral health problems and not even know it. Many oral health problems, such as some mouth sores and gum disease, are asymptomatic. Just because you don’t experience symptoms from these problems, doesn’t mean your oral health isn’t at risk. Scheduling a routine dental examination will help you get a better understanding of what dental problems you could be experiencing.

Need to schedule an appointment for a routine dental examination? Call Smiles by Shields. Our holistic dentist takes a whole body approach to dentistry. This means we will focus not only on treating any dental problems you are experiencing, but we will help you understand exactly how exposure to chronic stress is impacting your oral and physical health. Call today to schedule an appointment.

share