You are probably aware of the many ways that stress has a negative impact on your mental and physical well-being, but did you also realize that stress can have consequences for your dental health, too?
Stress can manifest in your mouth in ways that you may not even recognize, although your dentist may pick up on the signs and symptoms. Extensive wear and tear on the teeth can be a signal that you are unconsciously grinding your teeth, a condition known as bruxism. Morning headaches or ongoing facial or jaw pain can also be a sign of bruxism, or of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which can also be exacerbated by stress.
Stress can manifest in your mouth in ways that you may not even recognize, although your dentist may pick up on the signs and symptoms.
Extensive research has also linked stress with inflammation, and inflammation is a major culprit in gum disease. Your worries may be taking a toll on your gums, which can potentially lead to tooth and bone loss. Furthermore, some studies have suggested an increased level of plaque production during stressful periods. Plaque contains the bacteria that lead to gum disease.
Your oral hygiene routine may even be affected by your stress. If you have multiple demands on your time, pulling you in different directions, it can be challenging to keep to your daily regimen, let alone squeeze in your semi-annual appointments with your dentist.
Of course, you can pursue treatments for various stress-related oral health problems. Bruxism can be treated with a custom-fitted mouthguard worn at night to keep space between the upper and lower teeth. Many patients find that they get relief from wearing such a device.
Gum disease can be treated as well, with deep cleaning treatments or outpatient surgical procedures in more advanced cases. Similarly, TMJ disorders may be addressed with painkillers or correcting problems in the bite.
Stress management techniques may also be an important component of your treatment plan for these oral health issues. If you are able to better control your stress, you may find that your oral health symptoms disappear.
At your next dental check-up, ask any of our experienced dentists at The Dental Place if your mouth is showing any signs of stress. Explore the dental treatments that are available to address any problems and consider seeking counseling on stress management techniques as an additional measure to protect your oral health.