Stress affects our bodies in many ways, but have you ever thought
about the way it impacts your oral health?
One common response to stress that dentists often see the effects of is teeth grinding. This typically happens at night (though some people grind their teeth while awake, too), and most people are not even aware that they do it. Over time, grinding wears down the teeth and could potentially result in tooth loss. If you grind your teeth, your dentist might provide a bite guard to wear at night.
Stress can also lead to bad habits that harm your teeth, such as nail-biting or chewing on hard objects such as ice or a pencil. Clenching your mouth can result in jaw pain and other issues, too.
In times of stress, you might notice that your mouth gets dry as well. A persistent dry mouth means that there is a lack of saliva to help clean the teeth, which can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Bad breath also can be a consequence of a dry mouth. Without an adequate amount of saliva to wash away odor-causing food particles and bacteria, they stay in the mouth for a longer period of time.
“Stress can also lead to bad habits that harm your teeth, such as nail-biting or chewing on hard objects such as ice or a pencil. Clenching your mouth can result in jaw pain and other issues, too.”
Cold sores and canker sores may appear on the lips and inside the mouth as yet another way the body responds to stress.
As you can see, minimizing stress is important for optimal dental health. If you are feeling stressed out, irritable, or anxious, try one or more of these stress relievers:
Sitting still, with intention
Hobbies such as art or gardening
Adopting a pet
If you notice that stress is having an impact on your dental health, take extra care to ensure that you are brushing and flossing properly and contact your dentist for an appointment.