Stress is the body’s reaction to outside stimuli, triggering responses that prepare your body to fight or flee. While stress is a normal part of life, too much stress can negatively impact your health. Additionally, your oral health can be affected by stress. When you experience extreme levels of stress, your jaw muscle may clench and tighten, leading to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD can cause severe discomfort in the jaw, back of the neck, and head, as well as clicking noises when you chew or move your mouth. Your teeth may become sensitive from increased clenching and may wear down faster.
Gum disease is also common among those who frequently experience stressors. This is because stress causes an increase in the production of cortisol, the hormone responsible for regulating your blood pressure and blood sugar. When your body experiences heightened cortisol levels, it may also increase the production of plaque acid in the mouth. This can result in increased gum inflammation, bleeding, and even tooth loss.
All of these are serious issues that require the attention of a dentist. Ignoring them can result in tooth loss and permanent damage to the jaw joint itself. Stress reduction techniques like meditation and yoga can help lower stress levels and reduce the risks of gum disease and other health issues caused by stress.
If you experience any of these symptoms following a stressful event, contact your dentist as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. In some cases, the dentist may even prescribe medication to help relieve stress-related symptoms.
Patients tend to experience more stress during the holidays, and this can put their oral health at risk. Stress can negatively influence the hormones that control saliva production, which disrupts your body’s natural way of keeping bacteria from accumulating in your mouth and causing disease. In addition, patients who find themselves constantly stressed often find it more difficult to practice good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing regularly. When you don’t take care of your mouth, you’re more likely to get cavities or gum disease. This can also mean that your treatment may not be successful because you aren’t following the treatment plan as closely as it should be followed.
Seeing a therapist may also help you manage stress levels and identify and eliminate any underlying causes of stress in your life. Reducing the stress in your life will help you keep a beautiful, healthy smile for years to come.
To learn more, visit Wedgewood Dental offices at 713 Salem Avenue Suite A, Rolla, MO 65401, or 1116 S. Main Street, Salem, MO 65560. You can also reach us at (573)368-7325 or (573)729-7701.
713 Salem Avenue Suite A, Rolla MO 65401
MON 7:30 am - 3:30 pm
WED - THU 7:30 am - 3:30 pm
FRI - SUN Closed