In today’s fast-paced American lifestyle, stress is commonplace. People of all ages battle stress, whether you are a teenager who is anxious about exams or an adult working late hours while trying to raise a family. Unfortunately, stress takes its toll on your entire body. You may already realize how your heart and digestive system feel the effects of stress, but your oral health can suffer too.
Here is a closer look at how chronic stress can wreak havoc on your oral health:
Gum Disease and Cavities
The two most common (and detrimental) dental problems can be triggered by persistent stress. While routine dental checkups and diligent oral hygiene can prevent decay and gum disease, these often fall by the wayside when you’re too stressed out to follow through on your dental care.
During times of stress, patients also tend to consume more sugary snacks and sodas than usual or slack off on their brushing habits because they are too tired at night. The resulting combination of extra sugars, plaque and bacteria that linger on the teeth and gums can lead to cavities and gum disease over time.
Do you have a habit that you subconsciously do when you are anxious, worried or stressed? For many Americans, the habit involves their mouth. Oral habits like teeth grinding, pencil chewing, nail biting or jaw clenching are all common signs you are stressed. However, these are habits that can cause serious jaw discomfort if they are done on a daily basis.
TMJ disorders can include morning headaches, bite misalignment, jaw pain, jaw stiffness or jaw popping. You may also find that your grinding habit wears down your teeth or causes damage within your dental restorations.
Lastly, you may battle canker sores or fever blisters during stressful times. These uncomfortable mouth sores are typically triggered by a low immune system and fatigue, which comes easily during periods of emotional upsets or stress. Your mouth sore means that your body is not able to fight off a virus or bacteria the way it normally would – an obvious warning sign that your stress has now affected your overall health too.
At SmileBuilders Inc., we understand how difficult it is to take stress out of your life. However, for the sake of your health and your smile, we encourage patients to recognize these oral symptoms and make an effort to reduce their stress levels sooner rather than later. Whether you need to stop packing your schedule or start talking to a counselor, eliminating stress can mean a healthier and more confident smile.