Are you stressed out?
Do you feel like you are running around with your head chopped off? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you have anxiety? Are people walking on egg shells whenever they’re around you? If so, you probably have too much stress in your life. We all encounter stress in our lives, some more than others. Did you know stress has a direct correlation to your oral health? Our mouths have just as much of a chance of being affected by stressful situations, as our bodies and mind do. Research has helped us understand what roles anxiety and depression take in developing dental problems.
Stress can cause us to grind teeth at night, leading to severe tooth damage. This damage could cause a need for a root canal or extraction. Canker sores can also be brought on by stress, even though the exact cause is unknown. Stress can even cause our bodies to not produce enough saliva, often leading to dry mouth.
Other stress related problems linked to our oral health are: Burning Mouth Syndrome (which is identified as a burning sensation on the tongue, lips, gum, or palate), viral infections, causing white lines, sores, and ulcers in the mouth, bad habits such as, biting nails or chewing ice, and TMJ. While many of us know that grinding our teeth can lead to TMJ, emotional factions can also trigger symptoms. In the long-term, stress has also been proven to show effects on our immune system, increasing our susceptibility to periodontal disease.
As you can see, stress and oral health go hand in hand, but stress can also affect us indirectly. Patients who are stressed often tend to neglect their oral hygiene routines. When you have too many things consuming you, you tend to forget to brush or floss, correctly. When you are running from place to place and there is not enough time in the day, you tend to eat poorly. Poor diets usually consist of sugary or carbohydrate foods, which promote tooth decay.
On the flip side, dental problems can increase our levels of stress and anxiety. Our ability to tolerate pain is compromised, as our bodies struggle to adapt to stressful situations, causing extreme tooth pain during times of stress.
April is Stress Awareness Month. Now that you know how stress can cause bad oral health, let’s look at what you can do to de-stress. Slow down and take some time for yourself, and tackle one issue at a time. When feeling stressed, don’t forget about your dental health. Focus on your hygiene regimen and never use smoking or alcohol as stress relievers, as those, too, can cause damage to your oral health. Take proper measures to reduce stress like eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting plenty of sleep.
If you are worried that stress is affecting your oral health, see your dentist. They can help you tackle your oral health issues and start you on a regimen that works for you.