Stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Unfortunately, stress is all too common in today’s fast-paced society. Whether it is tackling a big job, lack of time or a difficult family situation, people of all ages can experience stress. While you may be familiar with how stress affects your heart or your stomach, stress can also impact your oral health in serious ways. In fact, your dentist may be able to detect your stress levels just by looking inside your mouth.
Here are three ways in which your mouth can respond to frequent episodes of stress:
For some, a sudden fever blister or canker sore on the lips or inside the mouth is a sure indication of stress. Canker sores are known for developing when the body is fatigued or under stress. This can be due to the fact that when your body is fighting stress hormones, it is less likely to fight off extra viruses or bacteria. Fever blisters typically break out during episodes of emotional upset. Unlike canker sores, fever blisters are contagious.
Whether you are a teenager cramming for exams or an adult who is under a lot of pressure at work, it is common for people to slack off on their oral hygiene habits as well as their diet during times of stress. Unfortunately, this can set you up for gum disease. If puffy, red or bleeding gums aren’t addressed promptly, you may experience some serious health concerns within your mouth and body. When bacteria, food debris and plaque are allowed to linger on the gums, you may suffer from infected gum tissues that eventually destroy the underlying bone and cause your teeth to lose stability. Missing teeth won’t help your stress levels!
Do you bite your nails, clench your jaw or grind your teeth when you are nervous and stressed? Bad oral habits often emerge during stressful moments. In fact, if you are under chronic stress, you may develop a nighttime teeth grinding habit that you are unaware of. Whether it is bruxism or chomping ice, your teeth and jaw can suffer significant damage if these habits are not addressed. Wearing a custom nightguard is an excellent way to prevent headaches and TMJ discomfort from teeth grinding.
See Your Dentist and Lower Your Stress
If you suspect that your stress levels have taken a toil on your smile, schedule an appointment to see your dentist. At Manhattan Dental Design, we offer a full menu of dental services to protect and restore your teeth from the harmful effects of stress. By taking care of your mouth, you can also protect the health of your body. We encourage patients to find ways to reduce their stress when possible, whether it is participating in a yoga class, taking a walk or talking to a counselor. Your smile will enjoy the breather too!
Posted on behalf of Manhattan Dental Design