Stress and oral health are more closely linked than you may have thought. We all experience stress to a degree, and we all know the toll that stress can take on our minds and bodies. But did you know that stress can have some serious consequences for your teeth and gums? It’s important to care for your teeth and gums not only by brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist regularly, but also by managing your stress so you can avoid the slew of oral health issues that can arise from stress left to run amok.
One common symptom of stress is teeth clenching and grinding. Particularly common at night, sometimes individuals dealing with stress will clench their teeth together during sleep or grind back and forth. Teeth grinding, also referred to as Bruxism, can have some serious consequences if left untreated including: headaches, jaw pain, TMJ disorder, broken or chipped teeth, abnormal wear of the teeth, and even sleep disorders. Teeth grinding can be countered through the use of a nightguard which serves to protect your teeth while you sleep. Managing your stress is also imperative, to tackle the problem at its root.
Although the exact cause of canker sores has yet to be determined, it is believed that they are linked to stress and anxiety. For many patients, canker sores tend to surface during times of high stress.
Stress and anxiety have also been linked to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ. The reason for this is that stressful situations can trigger the overuse of jaw muscles and can also cause you to grind and clench your teeth. There are several treatment options for TMJ that our oral surgeons at Ocoee Oral Surgery can suggest, but symptoms also tend to diminish when a patient’s stress is adequately managed.
Neglecting Oral Hygiene
Sometimes severe stress can cause people to neglect their regular self-care practices, and this can include oral hygiene. Sometimes when we get extremely stressed out, we suffer from poor sleep which can make it harder to complete even the easiest of tasks like brushing and flossing. Stress can also affect our food choices, and gravitating toward less nutritious, sugary foods can also take its toll on our oral health over time.
What to do?
If you worry that stress is adversely affecting your oral health, it’s time to make a plan about how to combat the symptoms. Take time to figure out what in your life is causing your stress, and find ways to minimize the effects. You can also work with your regular dentist and our team at Ocoee Oral Surgery to identify ways you can be proactive about prioritizing your oral health through stress management and other treatments. We’re here to help.