You probably know that stress takes a toll on your overall health. People suffering from chronic stress are more likely to have cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems – even depression.
Were you aware that stress can also affect your oral health? In this post, we’re going to cover the ways stress can cause dental problems and what you can do to treat them.
Common Dental Problems Linked to Stress
Stress can cause several types of dental health problems, including the following:
Have you had a white, painful sore inside your cheeks or lips? These are known as canker sores, and they can be brought on by stress.
While you have a canker sore, avoid foods and drinks that cause more pain, such as hot liquids, acidic foods and juices, and soft drinks. If your canker sores haven’t healed on their own within a week or two, visit your dentist for a special ointment or rinse that can help them heal.
Stress takes a toll on your immune system, too. If your gums are inflamed, they could create pockets for bacteria and infections to grow.
If your immune system is depleted by stress, it may not be able to fight off the developing infections.
If you notice bleeding or tenderness while brushing, or if you see your gums pulling away from your teeth, you may have gum disease. Make sure to keep regular dental appointments throughout the year. Your dentist will check for signs of gum disease and offer treatments.
You need saliva to keep your teeth and mouth tissues healthy.
Unfortunately, stress can dry out your mouth. Just as bad – if you are on medication for stress or depression, those medications can also lead to dry mouth.
Left untreated, dry mouth can create an environment that is conducive to gum disease, tooth decay, and infections. Check with your dentist about the treatments that are available for dry mouth, and be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Some people grind their teeth when they are stressed out, especially while sleeping. This condition, otherwise known as bruxism, can wear the enamel from your teeth and lead to decay.
If you wake up with a headache or pain in your jaw, you may be grinding your teeth. Your dentist can fit you with a custom mouth guard to stop the bruxism and protect your teeth from further damage.
When you are under stress, you may neglect regular brushing and flossing. You may also eat carbs and sweets or indulge in more alcohol than usual. Unfortunately, all of these actions can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.
Caring for Your Oral Health When Stressed
Under a lot of pressure? Feeling stressed out? Then it is even more important to maintain your regular oral health routine.
Take two minutes each morning and evening to brush, and floss once per day. As often as possible, drink plain water to stay hydrated and feel fuller between meals. Balance carbs and sweets with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Limit your alcohol use to one drink per day if you are a woman and two drinks per day if you are a man.
If you are worried that ongoing stress may be having an impact on your oral health, schedule a consultation with your dentist today. He or she can help you find healthy solutions for stress that won’t take a toll on your teeth or gums in addition to treating any developing problems.