Everyone gets stressed once in a while, and we all know that it can affect your overall health but did you know that stress can also directly affect your oral health?
Stress has been found to contribute to grinding your teeth, gum disease, canker sores and dry mouth. Stress may also impact your oral health routine and your diet which can then increase your risk of tooth decay. Grinding your teeth can cause damage to your enamel which can result in increased sensitivity and overall appearance of the teeth. If you experience headaches or jaw pains when you wake up in the morning, you may be grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist may recommend a night guard to be worn while you sleep to protect the teeth.
Stress can also lower your immune system and increase your risk for infections in the mouth such as gum disease and canker sores. The most common signs of gum disease are bleeding in the mouth when brushing and flossing. Treatment for gum disease varies depending on the severity; our dental hygienists, at Maple Mews Dental, will conduct a thorough exam known as a Periodontal Exam to find out the stage of your gum disease. Another oral health infection that can result from stress is canker sores. These are white ulcer like spots found on the soft tissue of the mouth and can be painful. Canker sores can be treated with topical creams or simply a salt water rinse daily and usually go away with in 1-2 weeks.
Dry mouth is another oral condition that is a side effect from stress and also a side effect from the medications used to treat stress and depression. The mouth’s first line of defence against bacteria is saliva, and without it there is an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease and infection. In order to create a better oral environment when you have dry mouth you can use some products designed to help increase salivary flow such as Xylitol mints and gums or Biotene products.
Lastly when you are under a lot of stress or going through a very stressful time, your general health can be affected. You may miss brushing or flossing your teeth during the day or you may start eating more unhealthy snacks which will contribute to tooth decay. Although your dentist cannot eliminate your stress, our team at Maple Mews Dental, can help you treat the conditions resulting from stress. Talk to your any one of our dental professionals at Maple Mews Dental, if you experience any of the signs or symptoms listed above.
Shared by Stephanie, R.D.H at Maple Mews Dental