Doctors have been telling us for years that stress can increase the risk of everything from high blood pressure to depression. But how often do we think about how stress affects our smile? From Rotem Dental Care in Toms River, here are some dental problems linked to stress.
Canker and Cold Sores
Cold sores are a symptom of the herpes simplex virus. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes canker sores but suspect they are related to infection, virus, or a weak immune system. If you are prone to mouth sores, you probably already know that stress seems to bring them on or increase healing times.
If you get these sores often, meet with your doctor or dentist. Your healthcare provider can guide you on medications, diet, and stress reduction practices.
It’s no surprise that teeth grinding (bruxism) is dangerous to teeth. It starts with enamel wear, then loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. During this progression, there may be other problems such as gum recession, headaches, and TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders).
If you grind your teeth, it’s vital to address this condition as soon as possible. In addition to stress, there are many criteria that can cause or exacerbate bruxism. These include malocclusion (bad bite), and prescription depression and anxiety medications.
Your dentist may prescribe an appliance to safeguard your teeth and keep your jaw in the proper position while you are sleeping. Other treatments include cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation therapies, mandibular advancement devices, physical therapy, and medication. Your dentist can design a treatment plan and work with you and your doctor to manage or eliminate this condition.
Sleep apnea can also be exacerbated by stress. Oral appliances can treat some forms of sleep apnea
There are many direct and indirect causes of TMD. For example, inability to manage stress may cause jaw clenching which, in turn, causes pain in the jaw joint. Other symptoms of TMD include tenderness, pain, or swelling in the neck, ear, face, or shoulder; popping or clicking sounds; and changes in bite alignment. Again, if you experience any of these, communicate with your dentist.
Stress can reduce your ability to fight plaque build-up which can cause gum disease.
Some people forget brushing and flossing when they are experiencing high levels of stress.
It’s not uncommon for people people to consume more sugar, snack more often between meals, or drink more alcoholic beverages when experiencing increased stress. All this at a time when vigilant oral hygiene is usually not a person’s first priority!
Tooth pain and untreated dental problems will only give you something else to worry about. Let’s nip this vicious cycle in the bud. Make an appointment with Rotem Dental Care in Toms River to protect your dental health. Services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Call our office today!
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