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? In this post from Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, 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 lengthen healing times.
If you get these sores often, talk to us. We can counsel you on medications, diet, and stress reduction procedures.
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 issues such as gum recession, headaches, and TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder).
If you grind your teeth, it’s vital to address this condition as soon as possible. In addition to stress, there are many factors that can cause or exacerbate bruxism. These include malocclusion (bad bite), and prescription depression and anxiety medications.
We may prescribe an appliance to guard 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.
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, talk to us about it.
Stress can reduce your ability to fight plaque build-up which can cause gingivitis.
Some people overlook brushing and flossing when they are experiencing high levels of stress.
It’s not uncommon for men and women 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 frequently not a person’s first priority!
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