Most people will be surprised to know that stress not only affects your emotional and physical health but also your oral health. Stress has been associated with general dental health and is linked with side effects such as gum disease and tooth loss. Here are ways in which stress can impact your oral health.
Gum disease is usually caused by the bacteria that live in plaque. Periodontal disease affects a person when many bacteria build-up and go untreated for a long time. This can be associated with stress. Our bodies attempt to eliminate the bacteria found around our gums, which causes the gums to become irritated and swell. Stress also makes it difficult for your body to fight infections. Gum disease can also lead to bad breath, bleeding gums, and loose teeth. Stress can also cause gum disease if it makes you smoke cigarettes, clench your jaw, or grind your teeth. If you have chronic gum disease, you may need to see a periodontist. Reducing stress may be part of your treatment.
Most of us take teeth grinding lightly, but the truth is that it can have a devastating effect on your teeth. Stress is the leading cause of teeth grinding; however, there are other conditions that may be causing it. If your muscles and jaws are misaligned, this may also result in tension and make you grind your teeth, which causes facial pain and headaches. Most of the time, we grind our teeth while we are asleep. This oral health problem is quite common. Besides a sore jaw, it can also cause headaches and damage your teeth. Severe teeth grinding can lead to loose, broken, or lost teeth. Some of the ways in which you can deal with this issue are exercise, counseling, and meditation. You can also wear a tooth guard at night.
A dry mouth is another sign that you have stress. A dry mouth is an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. This comes as a surprise to many because we usually assume that only a damp environment can be a good breeding ground for bacteria. A dry mouth has inadequate saliva to wash out bacteria that ultimately causes periodontal disease. Another problem is that when people are stressed, they are less likely to practice healthy habits such as eating a nutritious diet and drinking adequate water. These habits can cause one to have a dry mouth, making it easy for gum disease and bacteria to thrive. However, this can be treated with antidepressant medicines and stress counseling.
Temporomandibular Joint, or TMJ, are the joints that we make use of when moving our lower jaw. When these joints swell or stiffen, they cause a TMJ disorder. A majority of TMJ disorders can be directly linked to stress. We usually clench our jaw or grind our teeth when we are dealing with stress. This can lead to muscle aches around and within the jaw, and headaches too. It can also result in jaw misalignment. Minimizing stress can help reduce the discomfort and pain caused by TMJ issues and teeth grinding. Your dentist might suggest that you take anti-anxiety medication, mediate, or consume a soft diet.
There are several ways to manage stress, such as identifying what stresses you, prioritizing your tasks, getting enough sleep (7 to 8 hours), exercising, and sharing your problems with a person you trust.
If you are dealing with one of the issues mentioned above and wondering how to overcome it, worry no more. Here at River Valley Smile Center, we can treat the condition and ensure that you and your family are safe. Contact us by dialing (479) 795-1101 or visit our Facebook page.
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