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How Stress can Negatively Affect your Oral Health


Posted on 7/25/2015 by Brandon Cooley
A woman grinding her teeth from stress.We all know that stress is bad for our health, but did you know that it can wreak havoc on your oral health too? Stress lowers your body's immune system, which has a negative effect on your entire body, including your mouth. Before you give into that stress, consider these issues that you could be causing with your mouth.

An Unhealthy Mouth

Experts still do not know exactly what causes canker sores in a person's mouth, but stress has been shown to be a common factor in many cases.

Because stress makes your immune system weaker, your body is unable to fight off viruses, including canker sores. These sores are often white or gray in color and can cause a great deal of pain in your mouth. There is no accurate cure for them yet, but there are certain changes you can make to decrease the amount of pain you experience.

While you have these sores in your mouth avoid any acidic or spicy foods and keep your mouth as clean as possible. They will typically go away on their own within a week or two. In addition to canker sores, your mouth can be more prone to various infections and even gum disease as a result of stress because your body cannot fight off the germs that cause them. These issues require a visit to our office for proper treatment.

Bruxism

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can be caused by stress as well. If you go to bed with tense muscles, your body reacts by clenching your jaw muscles at night, which results in grinding your teeth. This can be detrimental to your overall oral health as chronic teeth grinding wears down the enamel of your teeth.

The enamel is like your shield that protects the interior of your teeth. When that enamel is worn down you can experience pain and tooth sensitivity. In addition, the clenching of those muscles can cause chronic pains in your shoulders and neck as well as cause headaches.

Bad Oral Habits

Stress can put you in a bad mood and not just a periodic bad mood where you are grouchy for a day and then move on. Chronic stress can cause depression or anxiety, which can negatively affect your daily habits, including caring for your teeth. If you are depressed, you begin to stop caring about things, which means your hygiene habits go out the window.

Not caring for your teeth properly can eventually lead to tooth decay or gum disease, both of which can put the integrity of your teeth at risk. In addition to not brushing and flossing often enough or well enough, many people pick up bad eating habits while under a great deal of stress in order to combat the bad feelings that accompany stress.

It is important that you find ways to deal with your stress, whether they are natural techniques, such as yoga, Pilates, or meditation or you seek professional help. Chronic stress can put your body and oral health at risk, which could decrease your quality of life. If you are under stress, talk to us about ways that you can minimize it while enhancing your oral health. There is no sense in dealing with unnecessary issues in your mouth as a result of your body being unable to deal with the stress you are dealt.

Please call us today for an appointment and we will help you get your oral health back in check as well as help you with various ways to manage your stress so that you do not have to deal with these oral health issues in the future.
WHAT OUR PATIENTS ARE SAYING:
As a patient, three things stand out to me about Cooley Smiles - the great quality dental work, the cleanliness of the facility and thorough follow up. These are major differentiators that I look for in dental providers and to-date, I've always been satisfied with my experience. Thanks for the great patient care, Cooley Smiles team!

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