Poor oral health can be characterized by chronic facial and mouth pain, oral sores, gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and more. Ultimately, stress can begin that downward spiral. While stress affects your overall health in many ways that develop over a long period of time, your oral health can see effects almost immediately.
Your immune system weakens during stressful times.
This leaves you at a high risk of oral infection. “There’s definitely a link between stress and dental health,” Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Nick Russo, DDS, said. “Stress affects the immune system, which fights against the bacteria that causes periodontal disease, making a person more prone to gum infection.”
Stress can worsen symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD.
This disorder affects the jaw and associated muscles. Jaw clenching, joint pain, a popping or clicking of the jaw joint, and headaches can all escalate in times of stress.
Teeth grinding can accelerate.
The habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw is called Bruxism. According to the Bruxism Association, 70% of cases are a result of stress or anxiety. While stressed, you may grind your teeth during the day, but it can also affect you while you sleep. For this reason, many people are unaware of the problem. Unfortunately, Bruxism can affect the shape of your teeth and cause extended jaw pain.
How to beat stress.
You can begin to beat stress by dealing with your problems head on. Create a plan to alleviate money woes or see a counselor to talk out your issues. Don’t forget to eat healthy foods, too. On a daily basis take frequent breaks, get plenty of sleep, take deep breaths, exercise, and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
The next step is to stay on top of your oral health. Stay on task with regular dental check-ups and screenings. Talk to your dentist about stress and take preventative measures to keep your smile healthy! Call today for your checkup.