Is Your Mouth Stressed Out?

Scientific research is continually uncovering new ways in which psychological stress harms our physical health. If you’ve been stressed out over work or personal problems, you are likely to develop some symptoms like headaches, insomnia and stomach problems. If the stress is chronic, it may contribute to illnesses ranging from heart disease to diabetes.

Oral health problems can also arise as a result of stress. The best dentists in Bedford see a number of patients whose issues are at least partially caused by this psychological problem.

For example, bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common oral health problem that is often stress-related. You may not even recognize that you have bruxism (unless alerted to the issue by a sleep-deprived spouse or significant other), but your dentist will notice the telltale signs of wear and tear on the teeth.

Stress-induced physiological changes in the body can also contribute to oral diseases. When a person is stressed out, the body releases a hormone called cortisol. That hormone can promote inflammation and compromise the immune system, creating the ideal conditions for gum disease.

If you have stress-related oral health problems, you may need to seek treatment for both the physical and mental issues. For example, in cases of bruxism, the dentist can provide a mouthguard to be worn at night, but the condition will persist if the underlying mental health issues are not addressed.

As such, part of your treatment for these problems may involve stress management techniques, such as massage or meditation. Your dentist may also recommend that you consult with a counselor or therapist.

All of us have stress in our lives from time to time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t let it disrupt the oral hygiene routine that protects your dental health. Keep to your regimen of brushing and flossing, and learn how to master some stress relief techniques. Talk to your dentist to learn more about the effects of stress on your oral health and the steps you can take to prevent these outcomes.