Stress and Your Oral Health

Have you felt stressed lately? Many studies reveal that our stress levels are rising significantly. They have also shown that many people feel like they have high levels of stress.

A little stress can be good, but too much stress can cause many problems. Stress is a contributing factor to many problems that affect our health, including our oral health.

Here is a list of the top 4 oral health problems you may experience when you are stressed out:

1. Gum Disease – Gum disease can range in severity from gingivitis to periodontitis. Its severity increases under emotional stress. Symptoms include red gums that bleed easily or, when its more severe, gums pulling away from the teeth.

2. Grinding/clenching teeth – Also known as Bruxism, the grinding of teeth often occurs at night while people are sleeping and unaware they are doing it. Symptoms include a sore jaw and suddenly flat or extremely sensitive teeth with worn enamel.

3. Canker Sores – Not only does trauma from over brushing, biting your cheek, or jabbing your gums cause canker sores, but stress can also lead to these mouth ulcers. They typically take the form of a painful sore and can become infected if they are especially severe.

4. Temporomandibular Disorders – TMD is short for a group of conditions that is usually associated with the neck and jaw muscles. Symptoms often include jaw pain and popping or clicking.

What should you do if you show signs of stress-related oral hygiene problems?
You should always continue to practice good oral hygiene, even when you are stressed. It is also important to look for and try stress-reducing techniques, including counseling, meditation, and exercise. You may need to reach out to your dentist when you begin to experience symptoms. Your dentist can recommend treatments to alleviate pain and prevent serious damage.

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