By now we all know the damage that stress can have on our overall health. It weakens the immune system, causes high blood pressure, and can contribute to heart disease. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that stress can also impact dental health.
Bruxism is a condition that causes people to clench or grind their teeth, usually in their sleep. This can be a sign of stress, anxiety, or anger. You may suffer from bruxism without knowing it. Since you may be unaware of your conditions, it’s important to know the symptoms, which are:
Bruxism cannot be cured, but it can be treated with the use of a nightguard worn to bed. This nightguard will prevent the teeth from coming into contact with each other, minimizing damage.
Gum Disease (Gingivitis)
Stress plays a large role in the development of gum disease. Like anything else, the sooner your dentist is able to diagnose and treat gum disease, the easier it will be. Make an appointment immediately if you suspect you have gum disease. Symptoms include:
Gum disease can be treated and managed, but it’s important to be evaluated by your dentist if you’re exhibiting the signs of gum disease.
Canker sores will usually exhibit inside the mouth. They are not contagious but can be caused by trauma inflicted on your mouth including brushing too vigorously, biting or chewing the inside of your cheeks, or accidentally biting your tongue. However, like everything else on this list, canker sores can also be caused by stress.
Pain from a canker sore will usually only last a few days and the sores themselves should heal on their own in a week or two. However, if your canker sores are larger than normal, return regularly, and cause pain for more than a few days, you may need to see your dentist in order to get a prescription mouth rinse or ointment.
In the end, the most important way to care for your mouth during times of stress is to consistently practice good oral hygiene. Make sure you’re brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and receiving regular dental cleanings and exams every 6-12 months. Making sure to come to our office regularly can be the first line of defense in catching and treating stress-related dental disorders early on.