Patient Guidelines During COVID-19

How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

We’ve all been there. Work, school, or life circumstances, in general, can cause you to get stressed out. Maybe you already know this can affect your health by causing headaches, high blood pressure, or stomachaches. 

But did you know stress can also affect your oral health? Those hormones brought on by stress can trigger several dental issues.

Our team at CaliDental wants you to know how stress affects your body, especially your teeth and mouth, so you can be prepared to handle any of these health issues head-on.

Stress and the dental problems it brings

Your oral health can be affected in many ways by stress or worry. Here are several common issues that occur:

Canker sores

Canker sores are small ulcerations that can form inside your mouth. They’re usually small white bumps with a red border. Canker sores will go away eventually, but they can be painful and make eating difficult. 

Scientists aren’t sure how canker sores form, but research has shown that stress is usually the culprit.

If you get canker sores often, consult our office for treatment options.

Teeth grinding

When stressed, you’ll often clench your jaw or grind your teeth, even without realizing it. This strain on your teeth can lead to a disorder in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. TMJ dysfunction causes a lot of pain in the jaw and can also cause headaches and difficulty when opening and shutting your mouth.

Extensive teeth clenching could also lead to fractures or breaks in your teeth. 

If you find yourself clenching or grinding often, we recommend getting fitted for a bite guard to prevent further damage to your teeth.

Gum disease

When you’re facing stress, you may eat foods that start to wear on your enamel. Maybe you occasionally forget to brush your teeth. These factors can begin taking a toll on your gums and cause them to develop gingivitis or periodontitis, which are types of gum disease.

Stress also causes the function of your immune system to go down, which can increase your risk of developing gum disease.

Next steps

If you know you will be extra stressed out soon, it may be a good idea to defend your oral health. If you get canker sores or clench your teeth, you can prepare with a topical cream or a bite guard to protect your teeth and mouth.

Learn more information or get treatment for stress-related dental problems by contacting our team today for an appointment at one of our offices in San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, Santa Maria, or Bakersfield, California.

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