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How Stress Affects Your Teeth

September 7, 2021

How Stress Affects your Teeth?

Stress is part of life, and we all deal with stress in different ways. Some people like to reduce stress by exercising; others feel better after eating out or enjoying a good movie. While slight stress in one’s life might be acceptable as it helps keep us motivated, it becomes dangerous when it affects your health.

Did you know that excessive stress not only affects our physical health but can also have harmful effects on our oral health? Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a rise in stress-related dental conditions. According to a survey by the American Dental Association, over 70% of the responding dentists saw a substantial increase of dental problems related to stress, such as chipped or cracked teeth. So, how does stress affect our teeth? This article explains everything you need to know about the damaging effects of stress and anxiety on our oral health and physical wellbeing. So, continue reading to find out more.

Stress and Our Teeth

  1. Bruxism

You might have found yourself grinding your teeth in stressful situations. This condition,  called bruxism, is normal if it happens transiently. But if you’re constantly stressed out, excessive grinding will result in wear of the biting surfaces of the teeth. This can have two undesired effects. First, the sharp edges of your teeth become flattened. As a result, the teeth cannot break the food particles down into smaller particles leading to indigestion and malnutrition. Secondly, bruxism also results in the wear of the outer enamel layer of the teeth. As a result, the teeth become sensitive and more prone to tooth decay.

  1. Tooth Fracture

When we’re stressed out, we tend to clench our jaws and grind our teeth. This puts constant pressure on our teeth, which develop small cracks. Over time, these cracks become more prominent and make our teeth more prone to fracture or chip. If a tooth fracture results in the exposure of the underlying tissues, it can lead to an infection of the dental pulp tissue, which is an excruciating condition. In these cases, your dentist will perform a root canal treatment procedure to restore the tooth. In extreme cases, when the tooth cannot be saved, your dentist will extract it and replace it with a dental implant Henderson.

  1. Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Our jaw joints, also known as the temporomandibular joints, are muscles and joints on either side of the face that help us open and close our mouths. These joints are essential for our oral health as they allow us to eat, swallow and speak. However, when these joints bear excessive pressure, such as  stress-related teeth grinding, it can lead to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs). According to the American Dental Association, stress, and anxiety are some of the foremost causes of TMDs. Some of the common symptoms of TMDs include:

  • Soreness of the facial muscles
  • Tooth soreness - especially in the morning
  • Limited or painful mouth opening
  • Cracking or popping sound during mouth opening or closure
  • Inability to chew food properly
  • Headaches
  • Frequent jaw joint dislocation - in advanced stages
  1. Mouth Ulcers

Have you ever noticed ulcers in your mouth right before exams or a presentation? This is because physical or emotional stress strains your immune system and reduces the body’s ability to fight infections. While mouth ulcers, also called canker sores, can be caused due to various reasons such as bacterial or viral infections, stress and anxiety are among the primary ones. Oral ulcers are not only painful and uncomfortable, but they can also be unsightly - especially if they develop outside the mouth. Oral ulcers can also develop due to excessive stress-related cheek biting.

  1. Gum Disease

Stress reduces our body’s ability to resist infections and affects the overall healing process. That is why people who suffer from stress and anxiety are at a greater risk of developing gum disease. Besides, wound healing is often delayed in individuals suffering from stress, leading to further dental complications.

More importantly, stressed people are often not in the mood for brushing or flossing or pick up unhealthy eating habits, which put them at an increased risk of developing dental infections.

  1. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a condition in which there is insufficient salivary production and flow in the oral cavity, leading to various problems such as teeth cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. The American Academy of Oral Medicine estimates that around 1-4 million people suffer from dry mouth. Scientifically known as xerostomia, dry mouth is often the result of medication prescribed to manage stress.

How to Avoid Stress-related Dental Problems?

During a clinical examination, if your best Henderson dentist feels that your oral health issues are caused by stress, they will recommend lifestyle changes that will help you overcome the underlying problem. Besides, your dentist will also give you nightguards that will prevent your teeth from wear during sleep. In some cases, dentists also refer chronic stress patients to their physicians or psychiatrists for further management.

Stress is unavoidable, but too much stress is bad for your overall physical and dental health. So, don’t let stress ruin your smile and quality of life. If you are looking for the best Henderson Dentist, look no more! At Densley Dental, we offer all dental services in one place: whether you need dental implants Las Vegas or dental treatment related to sports Dentistry Henderson, we are there for you! So, book an appointment with us today by calling (702) 212-6641 and let us take care of the rest!