How Stress May Adversely Affect Your Oral Health

How Stress May Adversely Affect Your Oral Health

There are many reasons why a person may be stressed due to a change in routine or life event.  Those changes may be positive life events, such as starting at a new job or school, having a baby, planning a wedding or getting married. Unfortunately, stress also comes from events such as an illness or the death of a loved one. Stress is usually defined as a state of mental or emotional strain due to unforeseen, adverse or demanding circumstances.

What Are the Physical Symptoms Associated With Stress?

If you are feeling tense or anxious, you should keep a watchful eye for signs of stress-related physical symptoms. The physical effects of stress may vary by individual and include headaches, chest pain, skin irritation and breakouts, jaw clenching or teeth grinding. Stress may also lead to high blood pressure and changes in vital signs. Stress may cause the fight or flight syndrome that causes dry mouth. A person may notice dryness in their mouth, which increases the chances of getting cavities. Drinking plenty of water and using rinses may soothe and relieve dry mouth and provide a balanced pH, similar to saliva. Saliva plays an important role in your overall oral health and a reduction in saliva production may lead to dry mouth. Without enough saliva to wash away bacteria, you may develop cavities or bad breath.

Stress may lead some people to grind their teeth at night. This may lead to tension in facial muscles and sometimes popping and clicking of the jaw joint. The best option to prevent grinding and reduce the adverse effects of grinding teeth is to use a mouthguard while sleeping. A nightguard will help reduce the wearing down of teeth and helps prevent the tension in jaw muscles. It is important to take preventive measures since grinding of teeth may also contribute to bone loss and can cause your teeth to shift.

Why is it So Important to Have Regular Checkups With My Dentist?

It is important to have a regular examination and cleaning with your dentist since he or she will be able to detect oral symptoms of stress including tooth sensitivity, tooth grinding, tooth decay, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) that impact the jaw joint, mouth sores and gum disease.

People who are under stress often neglect good oral hygiene, but it is important to continue to brush your teeth twice a day, floss every day and have your teeth and gums regularly examined by your dentist. Schedule your next cleaning and checkup today to help you maintain a healthy and bright smile for years to come.  Dr. Melchers and his experienced staff are here to address all your oral health care issues. Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.