29July

How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

Did you know that stress can cause very serious oral health issues? Learn more.

StressThere's no doubt you know that stress can have negative effects on your brain and body, but did you know that your stress level can affect your dental health? In addition to conditions such as bruxism (caused by tooth grinding) and canker sores, stress can cause serious issues such as TMJ/TMD and gum disease.

TMJ

While trauma and tooth grinding are common causes of TMJ, anxiety and depression can also contribute. TMJ is a condition caused by issues with the jaw joint-- common signs of TMJ include:

  • Grinding/clinching teeth
  • Sore, stiff jaw muscles
  • Frequent head/neckaches
  • Grating/clicking sound in the jaw.

Clinching and grinding of the teeth are commonplace for stressed individuals, leaving them susceptible to discomfort caused by TMJ. There are many methods of reducing the pain caused by TMJ, but there is no hard and fast treatment to resolve it. If you're experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, reach out to our office to schedule an appointment.

Gum Disease

Another unfortunate side effect of prolonged stress is periodontal (gum) disease. Since stress plays a direct effect on the performance of our immune systems, your gums are also at the mercy of your stress level. When your immune system is unable to fight the bacteria that leads to periodontal disease, your gums become more prone to infection.

Another reason those with high stress levels are more prone to gum disease is the fact that stress can make people more lax about their oral health habits/behaviors that affect overall oral health. Picking up habits such as smoking and drinking can cause all sorts of oral health issues.

To combat stress, individuals should take a natural approach that includes healthy eating, plenty of sleep, and an exercise plan. Addressing stress in a healthy fashion will pay dividends in terms of your health-- including the health of your mouth.

Update: Be sure to check out part two of this series

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