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How Does Stress Affect Your Dental Health?

Nov 18 2022

Stress is a normal response to life situations, and most people will go through stressful periods throughout their lives. If you’ve dealt with stress before, you’re likely familiar with the various physical and emotional symptoms it can cause, including headaches, digestive upset, trembling and trouble concentrating. But what you may not realize is how stress can harm your oral health. It’s not always easy to pinpoint what’s causing your stress, but paying attention to the early signs can help you consciously manage your stress. Here’s what to know about stress and your dental health. If you’d like to speak to a dentist, call Distinctive Dental Solutions

What Oral Health Conditions Are Caused By Stress?

Stress influences all areas of your health, and your dental health isn’t an exception. There are several oral health complications that can be caused or worsened by stress: 

  • Jaw Problems. Stress causes us to unconsciously tense our muscles. Many people may clench their jaw or overwork their chewing muscles, leading to disorders of the joints or tendons. As a result, you may experience pain around the sides of the face, ears and head. For some, these symptoms may indicate TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. 
  • Teeth Grinding. Clenching your jaw can also cause you to grind your teeth. Most commonly, this occurs at night or when you’re concentrating. Over time, this can lead to wear on the teeth. 
  • Poor Oral Hygiene. When you’re going through a stressful time in your life, your oral health may take the backburner. Failing to floss or brush regularly can cause dental decay, gingivitis and cavities. 
  • Canker Sores. These are small sores that happen on the inside of the mouth, most commonly near the gums and behind the lips. They can be triggered by mouth injuries and vitamin B deficiency. Some studies have shown that stress can also contribute to canker sores. 
  • Oral Infections. Stress has a profound effect on the immune system. In some cases, your risk of infection may be higher. You may notice oral infections following a time of severe anxiety. 

If you have any symptoms, talk to our dentists to explore possible treatments. We’re here to assist you, and we’ll design a custom care plan to alleviate your discomfort. 

Managing Your Symptoms

Even if you do have stress-related oral health issues, it’s never too late to improve your well-being. Addressing the issue allows you to mitigate some of the worst symptoms and safeguard your well-being. 

  • Talk to a dentist to learn about treatment options. We can create custom mouthguards and other oral appliances to mitigate the harmful effects of teeth grinding and clenching. These are worn at night to cushion the teeth and prevent you from straining your muscles and joints. 
  • Don’t eat crunchy or hard foods. Opt for soft foods when you’re in pain. 
  • Consider using anti-inflammatory drugs and massages to treat pain. 

Contact Our Office to Treat Your Dental Problems

There are many ways that stress can worsen or even cause certain dental complications. Our team is prepared to help you find ways to cope. Call us today for an appointment with a dentist. 

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