Eating too much sugar. Using your teeth to open a package. These are habits that can mess up your teeth and you know it. But what about stress? This extreme feeling can give you headaches, wrinkles, stomach aches, and ruin your sleep. Did you know stress can wreak havoc on your oral health too?
While every person manifests stress differently, there are some common stress-induced activities or reactions to stress that can lead to serious problems with your teeth.
1. Biting on things you shouldn’t.
When you’re tense, do you bite on a pencil? Chomp ice? Bite your nails? Any stress-related action that involves your teeth can damage your enamel and lead to breaks and chips. When your teeth start suffering because you rely on an oral fixation for stress relief, this could lead to the need for restorative dentistry corrections like porcelain tooth crowns or dental onlays.
2. Grinding your teeth.
If you feel like stress doesn’t manifest itself during your waking hours, that may be because stress finds its footing while you sleep. Grinding your teeth when your body is supposed to be resting can create a host of problems: worn tooth enamel, irritated gums, and, most painfully, TMJ. Grinding and clenching teeth is also known as bruxism and can cause headaches, facial soreness, and tenderness. There is an easy solution: a nightguard can keep your teeth grinding from doing major damage to your jaw, teeth, or even to your existing cosmetic or restorative dentistry.
3. Lack of saliva.
It’s easy to take for granted that your mouth has enough saliva to keep your teeth and gums moist. Saliva is incredibly important for oral health, and when your stress hormones are elevated, saliva production can decrease. The result: a dry mouth that leaves your mouth full of bacteria. If you’re taking any prescription medications to combat stress, depression, or anxiety, these can also cause dry mouth and, eventually, gingivitis or tooth decay. Dental sealants are often recommended for children to protect their newly erupted adult teeth from decay but, when other solutions are not helpful or feasible, sealants might be the right fix for your lack of saliva.
4. Poor overall health.
When you’re stressed, you are far more likely to come down with a cold or feel run down in general. Your oral health can feel the brunt of this decreased immunity, and the side effects can include gum disease or mouth sores. If permitted to fester and grown, periodontal disease could eventually cause teeth to become loose and fall out, creating a need for dental implants or other restorative dentistry procedures.
5. Bad oral hygiene.
When you’re stressed, you may not take very good care of yourself. It’s far too easy to skip your daily flossing regimen and fall into bed every night without brushing the day’s food and beverage consumption off your teeth. You may also feel overworked or overwhelmed by job, life, and family that you keep postponing visits to your dentist for regular teeth cleanings and exams. If you do two things for yourself every year, keep your dental appointments. These occasions keep serious oral health problems from developing and allow for the early addressing of cavities, gum disease, and even signs of oral cancer.
6. You avoid the dentist because of anxiety.
Being stressed and anxious about going to the dentist and avoiding the dentist’s chair because of it can lead to major oral health problems. Or, maybe you’re worried about going to the dentist because your teeth have fallen into serious disrepair. Neither situation is desirable. When you have stress about seeing your dentist, sedation dentistry is an option to help you get through the appointment or any major procedures. And if you are ashamed of the condition of your smile, remember that your dentist has seen everything, and probably seen far worse than the teeth you’re sporting. Get the help you need and you’ll improve your oral health and overall health and well-being.
Every person manifests stress differently, but one thing is for certain: stress can ruin your teeth. Contact cosmetic dentist Dr. Mitul Patel in Johns Creek to schedule a consultation about keeping stress from affecting your teeth and gums.