Between your calendar, your work obligations and your family activities, life can get stressful. You may be well aware of the effects that stress can have on your overall health. However, there are specific problems that can arise in your mouth when your stress levels rise. Here are 3 reasons to slow down and breathe deeper for a healthier smile:
Many patients know they are stressed when they feel a blister or canker sore inside their mouth. These can pop up on your lips, inner cheeks and gums. If you are stressed, your immune system is typically lowered. This decreases your body’s ability to fight off bacteria and viruses, such as the herpes simplex virus that causes fever blisters and cold sores. Not only are mouth sores uncomfortable, but they are also a clear indication that your oral environment is not up to par.
While stress doesn’t directly cause gum disease, poor oral hygiene and bad dietary habits do. It is very common for people to slack off on their brushing and flossing habits when they are extra busy or binge on sugary foods when feeling stressed. You may even be tempted to skip your dental appointments in order to keep up with other obligations. Unfortunately, this leads to a stubborn build up of plaque and bacteria along your gum line and on your teeth, which ultimately helps gum disease and cavities develop. Remember that untreated gum disease can affect your overall health and even cause tooth loss. Don’t let life’s pressure steal your pretty smile.
Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism) are widely known as a stressed out habit. You may not even know you are doing it, but clenching your teeth or grinding them during the night can be a telltale sign that you need to relax – and it can also produce jaw problems. If you experience morning tension headaches, a sore jaw or other symptoms of TMD, you need to talk to a dentist. Besides reducing your stress levels, you may need a custom nighttime mouthguard to protect your teeth and jaw from further damage. Other bad habits like nail biting and pencil chewing also tend to show up when you are tense, and they can wreak havoc on your teeth over time.
Handling the consequences of stress is a joint effort when it comes to your oral health. At Grateful Dental, we are fully equipped to manage your gum disease, treat an area of decay and even give you a topical agent or mouth rinse for your mouth sores. However, it is up to you to find ways to reduce your stress and make a more committed effort to stay on top of your dental hygiene and diet when life gets busy. Reducing stress not only makes you feel better, but it certainly support a healthier smile too!