It's well-known that stress can have negative effects on our physical and mental health. However, it may come as a surprise that stress can result in health conditions and bad habits that can wreak havoc on your teeth, gums and other tissues in your mouth. Regardless of how stress manifests, in your mouth or otherwise, we always recommend engaging in practices to reduce stress and anxiety, such as meditation and exercise.
Here are some ways that stress can be detrimental to your oral health.
Grinding Your Teeth
The root cause of teeth grinding is often stress and anxiety. Grinding your teeth can not only result in damaged teeth, but also headaches and jaw pain. When the grinding is severe, it can even cause loose teeth or tooth loss. If you grind your teeth, we'll often recommend a customized tooth guard to prevent damage.
You use your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) to move your lower jaw. Located below your ears, these joints can become swollen and stiff when you grind your teeth or clench your jaw due to stress. TMJ Disorder can be extremely painful, and we may recommend a mouth guard and a soft diet.
Stress can inhibit your body's natural defenses against infection. This includes infection of your gum tissue. Gum disease can cause bleeding gums, chronic bad breath and loose teeth. It's essential that gum infections receive our attention as soon as possible in order to save your tooth and keep the infection from spreading to other parts of your body.
A stress-related habit, nail biting can not only damage your teeth but also move them out of position. In addition, the germs from your nails can cause mouth infections that can spread to other parts of your body. You can even spread warts to your mouth from nail biting. This compulsive habit isn't easily broken, but finding healthier ways to relieve stress is essential to breaking it.
Stress is a part of life, but when it becomes too great, your health is at stake. If you're experiencing any of these conditions, contact our office and allow us to consult with you and help you find solutions.