Ways Stress can Affect Oral Health

First things first, take a DEEP BREATH and UNCLENCH YOUR JAW!! Surprisingly, there is a huge connection when it comes to stress and oral health. From canker sores to even a chipped tooth, stress can cause serious consequences to your teeth and gums. If you are feeling stressed, you should be on the lookout for signs of the following stress-related disorders. 

Teeth Grinding

Stress has been linked as one of the most common triggers to teeth grinding. What it does is it causes one to clench your teeth at night or slides them back and forth over each other. Other triggers include misaligned teeth, and sleep apnea. Bruxism is a teeth grinding condition; which should never be ignored. Symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • Sleep disorders 
  • Headaches 
  • Jaw pain
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • TMJ disorder 
  • Changes in appearance in your face 

TMJ Disorder

Stress and anxiety have been found to be factors of TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). Similar to teeth grinding, TMJ is often triggered by stressful situations which causes the overuse of jaw muscles and causes clenching of the teeth. 

Canker sores 

Canker sores are linked to how one deals with stress or anxiety. Women are actually more prone to canker sores than men. Possible causes of canker sores include:

  • Emotional stress
  • Sports accidents
  • Accidental cheek biting
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Vitamin B-12, Zinc, or Iron deficiencies 
  • Food sensitivities 

Gum Disease 

Studies have been shown that stress is linked to gum disease. When the body is experiencing stress, its ability to manufacture immune cells to protect against bacteria is compromised. Stress disables our immune system which then allows bacteria to thrive and inflammation to increase. When bacteria thrives, the rise of tooth decay and gum disease happen; which makes someone more prone to gum infections. 

Oral Hygiene Neglect 

When one is experiencing stress and anxiety, the last thing we are thinking about is self care. We tend to neglect ourselves and what is important to our body. Neglect in dental health is not properly brushing or flossing and choosing poor dietary choices. Research has shown that stress causes us to crave sugary foods and drinks; which can be havoc on our mouths.

* To learn more about how stress affects your oral health and to see if your mouth is experiencing stress-related issues, call our office today (239) 262-7700. We want to help deal with stress in healthy ways that don't wear and tear your teeth!

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