The Relationship Between Your Dental Health and Stress
Stress not only affects your emotional health, but your physical well-being, starting with your mouth.
Isolated at home with more distractions, but perhaps not enough work, you may find yourself snacking on junk food too much, not getting enough exercise or sleep, biting your nails, feeling depressed, drinking alcohol more than usual, or even smoking. All of these things can lower your oral health, but can be easily counteracted, once you become aware.
Tension may cause you to clench your teeth during the day and you may realize that you grind your teeth while asleep (called bruxism). This will wear away your teeth and perhaps crack them or cause teeth to be lost. Your dentist can create a custom mouth guard to wear at night for protection and you should practice relaxation exercises or meditation:
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD) occurs when tension in the jaw causes the joints at the hinge where the lower jaw connects to the upper jaw to become dislocated. This usually results in a popping noise when you open or close your mouth, but other symptoms can be problems chewing, swelling of the side of the face, soreness in the jaw, and headaches. Your dentist can create an orthotic splint that you wear which will keep the jaw in place and we can show you neuromuscular exercises that will help.
Periodontal disease, the infection of the gums and jawbone, can result if you neglect brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing before you go to bed. If you lack energy or feel depressed, you may think it doesn’t matter if you skip this for a day, but that becomes a bad habit and you are likely to get cavities and develop infected gums. If not reversed, you could lose teeth.
Canker sores are mouth ulcers that are often triggered by stress, B-vitamin deficiency due to an inadequate diet, or injury. Your dentist can prescribe a gel to relieve the pain and speed healing time, but reducing stress will also help.
Nail biting due to anxiety can cause teeth to become cracked or misaligned. Putting your fingers in your mouth can also transfer viruses, bacteria, and warts.
Burning mouth is a dry, hot feeling that may be caused by smoking, drinking, anxiety, or menopause. You may need medication, but de-stressing by talking to someone you trust about your feelings will definitely help.
Call us to set an appointment to have your oral health check-up to be sure you are staying on top of any developing problems, whether due to unusual stress or just daily life.