Can Stress Affect Your Oral Health?

Woman pointing to her mouthStress can affect your body in many ways. Apart from influencing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, it can also compromise your oral health. This is why dentists can sometimes tell if you’re under a lot of stress by just examining your mouth.

Many dentists in Taree and surrounding area note that your mouth can exhibit some signs and symptoms if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out:

Gum disease.

Some emotional factors are correlated with the development of periodontal disease. Studies suggest that stress can also aggravate it if you already have the condition. People dealing financial problems are at greatest risk for gum disease.

Canker sores.

Being under a lot of stress can increase your risk of canker sores, the small spots that appear inside the mouth. These appear less frequently with lowered stress levels, studies suggest. If you get painful sores often, consulting a dentist can help. You should also avoid spicy or acidic foods, as they can trigger or make them worse.

Teeth grinding.

Anxiety or stress is a common risk factor for bruxism. The thing with teeth grinding is that you may not know you’re doing it (especially if it happens in sleep). Common signs include teeth sensitivity, worn enamel, and flattened or fractured teeth. Wearing a mouthguard at night and relieving stress can help.

Poor oral hygiene.

Stress may also cause you to forgo brushing and flossing your teeth. You are also likely to get cavities or gum disease if you respond to stress by adopting unhealthy habits, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating lots of sugary foods and starchy snacks.

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Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).

This is the condition that affects the jaw joint that causes pain, joint noises and abnormal movement of the jaw. Stress is said to be one contributing factor to the disorder. Seeing your dentist or managing stress level (through relaxation techniques) can help relieve the pain.

Don’t let stress compromise your teeth and gums. Find ways to fight it through exercise, meditation, or doing something you enjoy. Don’t forget to visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.