Stress and Your Teeth

woman grabbing head and stressing out

In today’s world, stress is almost a given and is common among a majority of people. Coping with this anxiety can be difficult and can take a toll on your body before you’re able to identify the degree of stress you face.

It’s a well-known fact that stress can be detrimental to your mental health, but did you know that it can also be damaging to your oral health as well? Research shows that there is a connection between stress and deterioration of your teeth and gums!

Some of the most common stress-related oral health issues are:

  • Nail-biting
  • Canker Sores
  • TMJ disorder
  • Bruxism
  • Gum problems

Nail-Biting

Nail-biting is a very common anxiety related habit that can have negative consequences to your mouth! Putting your nails in your mouth can transfer germs and unwanted bacteria, which can potentially lead to infection.

Canker Sores

Canker Sores can occur in one’s mouth due to a lack of Vitamin B and/or extreme levels of stress and anxiety. According to a study in General Dentistry, students had a higher prevalence of these sores during the school year but saw a significant drop in prevalence over breaks and after graduation.

TMJ disorder

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, or TMJ, is a joint disorder caused by stress-induced teeth grinding, which results in stiffness, swelling, pain and popping the lower jaw. Similar to Bruxism, TMJ is the overuse of your jaw muscles, which causes teeth clenching and grinding.

Bruxism

Bruxism is the technical term for teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Stress and anxiety can often induce bruxism without one’s knowledge. It’s important to know the signs of bruxism, flattened tips of teeth, extreme sensitivity, tongue indentations so that you can talk to your doctor about possible treatments.

Gum Problems

Studies have shown that emotional factors have a role in the development of periodontal (gum) disease, with severity increasing with higher amounts of stress, especially with financial problems.

If you or someone close to you is experiencing extreme stress, please consult your doctor and dentist to ensure your mental and oral health won’t suffer! Try to implement relaxing activities that you love into your day, including yoga, jogging, meditation, or consider massage therapy to reduce your stress. It’s also important to maintain a consistent brushing and flossing schedule to maintain your oral health during stressful times.

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