When we are stressed we understand the impact this has on our moods, social interaction and even our health. But, have you ever considered the impact on your teeth? Stress and oral health have a bigger impact than you might think.
While the stress itself won’t necessarily cause problems with your teeth, the symptoms of stress can have a very real impact on our oral health. Understanding, acknowledging and dealing with these issues while you are stressed is important in order to ensure your long-term oral health.
The most common and damaging results of stress on our teeth come in the form of teeth grinding (known medically as Bruxism). Whether consciously or subconsciously whilst we sleep, grinding teeth can result in the wearing away of teeth or you may observe them becoming noticeably translucent. In such cases, you will likely need a specially-moulded mouthguard in order to help prevent any further wearing of the teeth.
You can also help to stop grinding your teeth – at least consciously during the day – by practising a few techniques. Breaking the habit is the best course of action. To do this it is important to relax your jaw whenever you feel yourself beginning to grind, then place your tongue between your upper and lower teeth in order to prevent yourself from grinding down. There are plenty of other, more in-depth, techniques that you could also try, but this is a simple technique that you can practice with ease for immediate effect.
Stress has also been known not necessarily to cause gum disease, but it can certainly exasperate the issue. Bleeding or receding gums is a sure sign of gum disease and as such you will need treatment to deal with this issue. Catching gum disease in its early stages can be vital in order to prevent its progression.
Further information on the development and treatment of gum disease can be found here.
Like teeth biting, constant and considerable cheek biting can be a sign of stress and a problem for overall oral hygiene. Most consider this to be harmless, but it can actually have very serious and long-reaching effects. Occasional cheek biting is unlikely to cause any long-lasting damage and likely will only result in a canker sore or ulcer. But, over a long period of time, you could cause serious damage to your cheek tissue and result in serious infections.
Some treatments for this condition include acupuncture – which we mentioned in a recent blog.
When stressed it is easy to forget simple things such as general hygiene, let alone all-important oral hygiene. Self-care is something which is not always maintained when under considerable stress and this can have many repercussions. During stressful periods we can also be more prone to make less advisable decisions with food, eating too much sugary and harmful products, as well neglecting to brush or floss altogether.
It is important to attend regular visits to a dentist, even during times of stress, in order to ensure that the impact on your long-term oral health is as minimal as possible.
If you are concerned that stress is impacting your oral health or causing more complicated issues such as those listed above, then don’t hesitate to book an appointment. To find out more information you can also get in touch via our online contact form or by calling on 01925 756565.