Stress is an unavoidable fact of our everyday lives. Uncontrolled stress can impact your immune system, sleep habits, digestive system and your mental health. Too much stress can also significantly affect your oral health. Stress can cause teeth, gum and other oral structure health issues.
Common Oral Health Issues Related To Stress
Cavities – When you’re feeling stressed out all the time, your body weakens and is more vulnerable to sickness and disease because your immune system is not in tiptop shape. Experiencing tension and strain releases chemicals that lower the body’s defenses. Then bacteria and viruses can more easily invade and grow since the body isn’t in its best of shape to fight off infections. Bacteria that causes tooth decay can then flourish.
Gum Disease – Gum disease can also flourish if you’re not handling stress well. Gingivitis and periodontitis can take hold in your mouth more easily if you’re a stressed person. Feeling stressed can also mask the symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis, because your body’s alert system is being short-circuited by pressure.
Mouth Sores – Mouth sores, such as canker or cold sores, can also occur more frequently due to a stress-compromised immune system. Canker sores are small white or gray spots with red borders that develop inside the mouth. Stress can increase your chances of getting canker sores. Cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus, are fluid-filled sores that develop on or around the lips, nose or chin. When you’re feeling stressed, it can trigger a cold sore outbreak.
Teeth Grinding – Grinding of teeth, also called bruxism, can also be caused by stress. Clenching and grinding your teeth can happen during the day or at night. Most people don’t even realize they’re doing it. Teeth grinding can cause your teeth to wear away, leading to flatter, shorter teeth and V-shaped cavities on the top surfaces of teeth. Eventually, receding gums and tooth sensitivity develops.
Stress that causes you to clench or grind your teeth can also cause problems with your jaw and the facial muscles that control your jaw. Grinding and clenching the teeth can also cause soreness, headaches and muscle spasms in different areas of your face.
Other Mouth Problems That Can Arise from Stress
- Dry Mouth: When your mouth has a reduced saliva flow, chronic dryness develops. Dry mouth can be caused by stress.
- Burning Mouth Syndrome: Psychological issues can cause burning mouth, which is characterized by a burning sensation on the tongue, lips, gums or roof of the mouth.
- Poor Cleaning Habits: When you’re upset, you may not be in the mood to do much, causing you to skip brushing and flossing. Neglecting teeth and mouth cleaning makes you more vulnerable to cavities or gum disease.
How You Can Help
Managing your Stress – Are you feeling stressed out? Help yourself by managing the stress in your life to reduce the impacts it has on your dental health and overall physical and mental health. Find ways to de-stress and bring down the pressure. Exercising, eating healthy, and practicing relaxation techniques can help bring down your stress levels.
Prevent Cavities and Other Dental Problems – You can prevent cavities and other dental problems by sticking to your daily brushing and flossing routine. Also, cut down on the sugary and starchy foods we sometimes reach for when we need stress -relief.
Be sure to take care of your mouth with regular dental checkups. Find out more about keeping your teeth and gums healthy by contacting Central Avenue Dental. Our Valley Stream and Manhattan offices offer general, cosmetic and advanced dentistry services to help keep your mouth attractive and healthy.