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How Does Stress Affect Your Dental Health?


Your dentist and oral hygienist can obviously see if you’ve been brushing or flossing regularly, but it may surprise you to know that they can also tell if you’re under stress.

Stress affects many parts of your body, and your dental health isn’t immune. It can harm your teeth, gums, and mouth, causing problems in the following ways:

Teeth Grinding

If you’re under stress during the day, you may grind your teeth at night as you sleep. Teeth grinding can cause pain in your jaw, face, ear, or head, as well as teeth that are flatted, chipped, or cracked. You may also develop a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely.

TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)

TMD is a set of conditions that affect your jaw joints, muscles, and facial nerves. It can cause pain in your jaw, head, neck, or ear. You may even develop clicking or popping sounds when you open your mouth or even have trouble opening and closing your mouth. Stress is thought to be a contributing factor, since it can make you clench your jaw and grind your teeth.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is commonly associated with stress. If your mouth is consistently dry, your dental health may suffer since you won’t have enough saliva to efficiently wash away acids and bacteria. As a result, you may be more prone to developing tooth decay and gum disease.

Oral Lichens Planus

This autoimmune disease causes white patches, dots, or thin lines in your mouth, usually on the inside of your cheeks. They can be painful and make eating, especially spicy foods, difficult. Stress is believed to make flare-ups of this disease worse.

Canker Sores

These small, painful ulcers can show up inside your mouth, making eating uncomfortable. They usually are round and are white or gray with a red edge. The exact cause isn’t known, but stress is believed to be a trigger.

Gum Disease

Gum disease involves an infection around your tooth. It can cause your gums to become red or bleed and even destroy bone and gum tissue, making your teeth loose.

It’s also been linked to overall health issues including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Gum disease has also been associated with stress, probably because it compromises your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infection and making an infection harder to treat.

Sometimes you may not even be aware that stress is adversely affecting your dental health. Regular dental visits can help treat any mouth issues you’ve developed because of stress.

Contact My Family Dentistry to make an appointment, and let us improve your dental health and overall well-being.

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