Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How Stress Affects Your Oral Health


How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Too much stress affects your whole body, including your mouth, teeth, and gums.
The potential impact includes:

  • Mouth sores, such as canker sores and cold sores
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Not taking care of your teeth
  • Eating a bad diet
  • Gum (periodontal) disease or worsening of existing periodontal disease
  • Bad habits like chewing your nails, ice, pencils, or other objects
  • Depression

You can prevent these oral health problems, if you know what to do.

Mouth Sores/Canker sores

small ulcers with a white or grayish base and bordered in red -- appear inside the mouth, sometimes in pairs or even greater numbers. Experts aren't sure what causes them. It could be immune system problems, bacteria, or viruses. But they do think that stress, as well as fatigue and allergies, can increase the chance of getting them. Canker sores are not contagious.
What to do: To reduce irritation, don't eat spicy, hot foods or foods with a high acid content, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits. Most canker sores disappear in a week to 10 days. For relief, try over-the-counter topical anesthetics.

Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that often appear on or around the lips, but can also crop up under the nose or around the chin.
Emotional upset can trigger an outbreak. So can a fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.
What to do: Like canker sores, fever blisters often heal on their own in a week or so, but since the virus that causes them can be spread, you should start treatment as soon as you notice the cold sore forming. Medications include over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Ask your doctor or dentist if you could benefit from either.

Teeth Grinding

Stress may make you clench and grind your teeth -- during the day or at night, and often subconsciously. Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism.
If you already clench and grind your teeth, stress could make the habit worse. And, grinding your teeth can lead to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet.
What to do: See your doctor and ask what can be done for the clenching and grinding. Your dentist may recommend a night guard, worn as you sleep, or another appliance to help you stop or minimize the actions.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Being under extreme stress may affect your mood and cause you to skip brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
If you don't take care of your mouth, your teeth and overall oral health can suffer. If you already have gum disease, skipping daily hygiene may make it worse. If your mouth is healthy, falling short on these tasks can lead to gum disease or make cavities more likely.
When you're stressed, you may also develop unhealthy eating habits, such as snacking on large amounts of sugary foods or drinks. This can put you at risk for tooth decay and other problems.
What to do: Just reminding yourself of the importance of hygiene and healthy eating may help. A regular exercise routine can relieve stress, rev up your energy levels, and encourage you to eat healthier. It may even make you more likely to tend to your mouth.

Gum Disease

Even short-term stress can mean more dental plaque.
Long-term, the stress can boost the likelihood of bleeding gums, or gingivitis, which can progress to serious gum disease.
What to do: Remember, eating a balanced diet, seeing your dentist regularly, and good oral hygiene help keep gum disease at bay. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily. Antibacterial mouth rinses also help reduce plaque-causing bacteria.

Gum Disease

Stress can lead to depression. Learning how to handle stress can help tame the risk of gum problems getting worse.
What to do: Talk to a health care or mental health professional if you think you're becoming depressed. You want active, practical strategies to overcome or manage the challenges you face.

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Isidoros  Mereos enjoys bettering the lives of his patients through the practice of cosmetic dentistry at Precious Smiles in the Miami Beach area. Our team looks forward to meeting with you and developing a plan tailored to meet your individual needs. You can make an appointment with our cosmetic dentist by calling our friendly staff at (305) 532-9114 or by visiting www.precioussmiles.com. Please don't hesitate to contact Precious Smiles if you have any questions about cosmetic dentistry.


1 comment:

  1. Even I agree with your blog that lots of stress can really affect oral health too. Stress can lead to depression, gum disease or make cavities more likely. Our dentist recommend to avoid mental or dental stress, talk to the professional and spend some quality time for relaxation.

    Dentist in Miami