How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health
Submitted by Dr. Samir Ayoub on July 20, 2017 - 9:00 am
According to the American Psychological Association, 75 percent of American adults experienced moderate to high levels of stress in the past month; 50 percent of adults say their stress has increased from the previous year.
All of this stress can manifest in different physical ways: headaches, fatigue and digestive problems, just to name a few. Did you know that stress can affect your oral health, too? Our trusted San Francisco dentist, Dr. Samir Ayoub, explains how in this post.
Chronic Teeth Grinding or Clenching
People that are stressed often grind or clench their teeth, typically at night while they sleep. This puts an enormous amount of pressure on the teeth and can cause them to become extremely worn and sensitive. In the worst cases, the teeth actually crack or fracture.
The problem is that many people don’t know that they grind or clench because it happens at night. Dentists can detect the signs of teeth grinding during an oral exam. If the tips of your teeth appear flat, or your jaw aches in the morning, schedule an exam with your dentist so he can take a look and confirm whether you do grind or clench.
Some scientific studies have shown that the chances of gum disease increase with added stress. Depending on the extent of the disease, it may cause the gums to become red, swollen and bleeding. In its most advanced stages, gum disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets.
Another oral health problem triggered by stress is canker sores, or mouth ulcers. These small painful sores are more likely to develop (usually on the inside of the mouth) when a person is stressed.
Minimizing the Effects of Stress on the Mouth
Now that you’re aware of some of the effects of stress on the mouth, you probably want to know how to avoid them. The most important advice is to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily, and seeing Dr. Ayoub every six months for a check-up.
If he discovers a stress-related problem, he may recommend a specific treatment or solution, such as wearing a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding or clenching at night.
It’s also helpful to identify the source of your stress and find ways to manage it. Many people find that exercise, yoga, meditation, counseling and sometimes massage therapy can help reduce stress levels.
Contact San Francisco Aesthetic Dentistry Today
To learn more about keeping your teeth and gums in their best health, please contact San Francisco Aesthetic Dentistry by calling at (415) 781-2227or sending us an email today.