The feeling of stress can be good or bad, depending on the source. While a certain amount of stress can help push us toward our goals, too much can lead to negative consequences like teeth grinding at night or jaw clenching during the day. This can cause headaches, sore muscles, and even damage to our teeth and bite alignment.
Like all parts of the body, the mouth responds to stress by exhibiting certain symptoms. These can include something as simple as bad breath to more serious issues such as gum disease and cavities. While it’s easy to brush off some of these symptoms of stress as minor irritants, they can actually be warning signs that something is going on that should be investigated further. That’s because when left untreated, these oral problems can cause a cascade of other health issues that can add up in severity over time. Here are a few of the most common signs of stress-related oral health issues that your dentist can help you identify and address before they become a more serious problem.
Bad breath is a very common issue that can be caused by a number of things, including poor dental hygiene habits, eating the wrong foods, or dry mouth caused by stress relief medications such as antihistamines. However, if the problem persists despite your best efforts, it may also be a sign of an underlying health issue such as gastrointestinal reflux disease or diabetes. In these cases, it’s important to let your healthcare professional know so they can address the underlying health problem in addition to treating the symptom of bad breath.
Another very common sign of stress is tooth grinding, also known as bruxism. This occurs when patients clench their teeth together either during the day or as they sleep. While this can be very painful and cause issues with teeth alignment, it can also wear down your teeth very quickly and even cause fractures in the enamel, making treatment more complicated. In addition to alleviating stress, there are mouth guard appliances that can be custom-made to fit over your teeth while you sleep to prevent you from causing damage.
Finally, one of the most common signs of stress is gum disease. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine that increase your blood pressure and heart rate. This increases the flow of blood throughout your entire body, including your gums. The increased blood flow means there is an increased risk of gum disease.
This is why it’s especially important to practice good oral hygiene habits when you are stressed. Brushing your teeth twice a day helps reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth, which reduces your risk of gum disease. You should also make sure to floss every day to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gum line. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, it’s also important to visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup.
Visit Healthy Smiles of Birmingham at 100 Heatherbrooke Park Dr Suite A, Birmingham, AL 35242 for a wonderful dental experience. Contact us at (205) 991-9535 or schedule an appointment online.