How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

You’re probably familiar with the many ways that stress can have a negative impact on your well-being. It can cause headaches, digestive problems and a host of other issues.

Many people don’t realize that stress can influence oral health, too. That’s right. Even if you brush and floss diligently, all that hard work can be undone

One common stress-related ailment that leads people to the dentist is bruxism, or grinding of the teeth. Tension can cause patients to clench and grind their teeth while sleeping. Patients may wake up with a seemingly inexplicable headache or jaw pain.

Controlling stress will help, but in these cases, patients may also need to wear mouthguards at night to prevent the negative effects of bruxism.

Similarly, the best dentists also may see stressed out patients who present with disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Tension in the muscles of the jaw may cause generalized jaw or facial pain. Massage and stress management are often included in the treatment plan for patients with TMJ.

Stress may also manifest in less obvious ways that necessitate an appointment with a dentist. For example, patients with high levels of stress are probably more susceptible to infections and gum disease. Stress can also increase your risk of a canker sore outbreak.

This relationship may also be due, at least in part, to the link between stress, inflammation and a weakened immune system that is less effective at thwarting attacks by oral bacteria. Additionally, stress seems to correlate with increased plaque accumulation, according to some research.

If you abandon healthy eating habits during times of stress, that can also compromise your oral health. Do you nosh on sweet treats to ease your mind? You may be more likely to develop cavities. It can also be more difficult to stay on top of your oral hygiene routine when you’re trying to manage dozens of other obligations.

Have you noticed the effects of stress on your oral health? Consult with our dentists in The Colony for treatment and pursue counseling or engage in some other relaxation therapy for a long-term solution to protect your oral health.