Contributing to everything from poor sleep to muscle tension, stress is one condition that won’t leave you with a smile on your face. But that’s not the only way this common condition can impact your teeth and gums. By placing pressure on both your mind and your body, chronic stress and anxiety can have a considerably negative impact on your oral health. If you’re concerned about your mental well-being, here are a few reasons why you might want to talk to a dentist about the effect stress has on your mouth.
3 Oral Health Problems Made Worse by Stress
According to the American Dental Association, stress and anxiety are leading causes of bruxism—a condition characterized by nighttime teeth grinding. Over time, constant grinding in your sleep can cause jaw pain, stiffness, and physical damage to teeth. In some cases, the pressure may be so intense that it contributes to TMJ disorder.
While prioritizing relaxation can help you sleep easier—and take stress off your teeth—you should also talk to a dentist about how you can prevent bruxism-related issues. In many cases, your provider can craft a custom mouth guard that will pad and protect your teeth during sleep.
2. Dry Mouth
There are many ways stress can contribute to chronic dry mouth—a condition that allows oral bacteria to thrive and contribute to increased tooth decay risk. For example, being in a nervous state can restrict the ability of your salivary glands. If stress causes you to sweat excessively, you might also become dehydrated and suffer dry mouth as a result. In other situations, certain mental health medications—including those often take to treat anxiety—may reduce your ability to produce saliva.
If you’re looking for a way to beat dry mouth, staying hydrated can help you sustain proper fluid levels. If that doesn’t help, talk to a dentist about mouth rinses that can help stimulate saliva production.
3. Gum Disease
As your body processes the physical effects of stress, your immune system will weaken and make it easier for you to develop oral infections such as gum disease. When left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, gum recession, and infections elsewhere in the body.
While gum disease can have serious consequences, it can be reversed if caught in its early stages—a condition known as gingivitis. If you develop swollen, red, tender, or bleeding gums, talk a dentist about your gum disease risk and treatments that may help.
When it comes to reducing stress to protect your oral health, it’s important to work with a dentist that embraces comfortable care. Understanding the importance of being relaxed, Anthony J. Adams, DDS of Healthy Body Dental offers natural and holistic treatments to address problems impacting your oral health—including gum disease, dry mouth, and bruxism. To learn more about the preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry that Dr. Adams offers in Clearwater, FL, visit his clinic online. For appointments, call (727) 799-3123.