When it comes to stress, it seems like no part of your body is immune to its effects. This includes your teeth, gums, and overall oral health. Many problems with oral health come about due to a habit you have acquired to deal with stress, such as grinding your teeth. It can be especially difficult to make this connection because most people grind their teeth at night and are not aware of it until they begin experiencing a sore jaw, headaches, earaches and other physical symptoms.
Stress and the Relationship to Other Common Oral Health Problems
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is perhaps the most obvious type of stress-induced dental health issue once the sufferer has uncovered the true cause of it. However, it’s far from the only one. Some other common oral issues with stress as a contributing factor include:
- Burning Mouth Syndrome. Stress is one of many possible contributors to this condition. You will recognize it by a burning sensation that you feel on your gums, lips, palate or tongue.
- Canker Sores. A canker sore is a harmless white spot that can appear suddenly in your mouth. Although it doesn’t cause lasting damage, it can be painful until it goes away. This usually happens in one to two weeks. Your dentist at Brewery District Dental can prescribe a rinse or topical treatment if pain persists.
- Dry Mouth. This symptom can be a real catch-22. Stress can lead to a chronically dry mouth, but so can the medications used to treat chronic stress, anxiety and depression. A persistent lack of saliva in the mouth increases the risk of gum disease, infection and tooth decay.
- Gum Disease. Chronic stress increases your risk of gum disease because it lowers your immunity and makes it more likely you will develop an infection in your gums.
- Lichen Planus. The biggest impact of this condition is the appearance of ulcers, sores and white lines in your oral cavity. It occurs due to a viral infection, which can be caused by stress.
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). Although many physical issues can cause chronic pain in the jaw muscles, emotional distress and anxiety can also contribute to it.
- Tooth Decay. When you’re under stress, you’re less likely to take good care of your teeth and gums. An inconsistent or inadequate oral healthcare routine increase the likelihood of a range of oral health issues. Lifestyle choices such as smoking and excessive drinking can lead to tooth decay as well.
We Can Help You Manage Stress and Oral Health
Although our staff can’t take away the stressors in your life, we can help you learn more productive ways of dealing with them that don’t damage your teeth, gums and mouth. If you or someone you know is experiencing stress and feel concerned about oral health, call us at Brewery District Dental today.