Stress can affect many parts of your body, increasing your risk of or worsening conditions ranging from heart disease to diabetes. It can also have a negative impact on your oral health, increasing the chances that you’ll have cavities.
What are Stress Cavities?
Stress cavities are those that are at least partially caused by stress. This can happen in several ways:
- Lowering your immune system – Stress can lower your immune system and cause inflammation throughout your body. This can increase your risk of developing gum disease (an inflammation of the gums and tissues surrounding your teeth) as well as tooth decay.
- Neglecting your oral health – If you’re under a great deal of stress, you may not place a high priority on taking care of your health. This can include brushing, flossing, and making regular visits to the dentist.
- Making poor eating choices – Stress can make you more likely to abandon a healthy diet and reach for sugary snacks or refined carbohydrates, which can remain in your mouth and break down into simple sugars. Bacteria can feed on these sugars and produce acid, which causes cavities.
How Can You Avoid Stress Cavities?
You can help avoid stress cavities in the following ways:
- Eat a healthy diet – This can boost your immune system and help you avoid sugary snacks and refined carbohydrates
- Prioritize your overall health – Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, taking time to exercise, and practicing good oral care habits
- Find ways to help alleviate stress – Spending time with friends, meditating, doing yoga, practicing deep breathing exercises, or taking a walk
- See your dentist regularly – Regular dental care can help detect cavities when they’re at they’re smallest and most easily treatable and also check for signs of other stress-related oral issues, such as bruxism (teeth grinding)
What are the Symptoms of Stress Cavities?
A cavity may not cause any symptoms when it first forms, which is one reason why regular dental care is so important. As cavities – including those caused by stress – become larger, however, they can cause the following:
- Tooth pain – can occur for no apparent reason, while eating or drinking sweets or hot or cold items, or when you bite down
- Tooth sensitivity
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth
- Brown, black, or white staining on your tooth
How are Stress Cavities Treated?
Stress cavities can be treated in the following ways, depending on your situation and how advanced they’ve become:
- Fluoride treatments – can be applied to your teeth to potentially reverse a cavity that’s in its very early stages
- Fillings – materials such as composite resins are used to fill the cavity
- Crowns – extensive decay can be drilled away so a custom-fitted crown can cover your tooth’s natural crown
- Root canal – removes diseased tooth pulp in severely damaged or infected teeth
- Extraction – a last resort for teeth that can’t be restored
If you have any symptoms of a stress cavity or need regular dental care, make an appointment today with Central Avenue Dental of Manhattan and Valley Stream, NY. We offer a full range of quality dental services delivered with personalized care.