Is Stress Affecting Your Oral Health?

Grand Rapids MI DentistIn 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 and trying to raise a family. Unfortunately, stress takes its toil on your entire body. While you may already realize how your heart and digestive system feel the effects of stress, your oral health can suffer too.

Here is a closer look at how stress can wreak havoc on your oral health:

Gum Disease and Cavities
The two most common (and detrimental) dental problems can be triggered by chronic 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 tend to consume more sugary snacks and sodas than usual. They also may slack off on their brushing habits because they are too tired at night. As a result, plaque and bacteria are allowed to accumulate on the teeth and gums, which eventually leads to cavities and gum disease. To make matters worse, untreated gum disease can cause tooth loss – which certainly won’t bring down your stress level.

Jaw Problems
Do you have a habit that you subconsciously do when you are anxious, worried or stressed? For many Americans, the habit involves your mouth. 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.

Mouth Sores
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 Advance Dental Smile, 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 means a healthier and more confident smile.

Posted on behalf of Advance Dental Smile

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