10 Ways Stress Can Impact Your Teeth
You know that stress can manifest as a headache, muscle tension, or high blood pressure, but have you ever considered how stress can impact your teeth? Here are 10 of the most commonly reported dental health issues linked to stress.
- Tooth grinding: Also known as bruxism, nighttime tooth grinding is a common condition, especially among stressed individuals. The unconscious habit wears down your teeth over time and may also cause tooth shifting and jaw pain.
- Tooth fractures: Teeth have tiny fissures in them due to everyday wear and tear. As long as they don’t become any worse, these fissures are no problem. Unfortunately, jaw clenching and stress go hand-in-hand, causing weak teeth to eventually fracture and break.
- Sensitivity: Nighttime grinding and daytime clenching can wear down the protective enamel layer, leaving your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and sweet and sour foods.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain: The TMJ is the joint connecting each side of your jaw to your skull. Pain or dysfunction in this joint is known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. Stress-related tooth grinding, jaw clenching, and muscle tension may cause or aggravate TMD.
- Gum disease: Some studies suggest a link between the stress hormone cortisol and bacterial growth that leads to gum disease, also called periodontal disease. This chronic oral health problem can cause gum sensitivity, bad breath, and eventually tooth loss.
- Cold sores: Also called fever blisters, cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Being upset or stressed can trigger an outbreak at the corners of your mouth, which may take a week or more to clear up.
- Canker sores: These painful mouth sores make it difficult to eat spicy, salty, or acidic foods. Experts aren’t sure what causes canker sores, also called recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS), but it appears that stress increases your risk.
- Oral infections: Stress negatively impacts your immune system, making you more vulnerable to low-grade infections in your mouth and elsewhere in your body.
- Dry mouth: Formally known as xerostomia, dry mouth is when your salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva. Among other causes, stress and anxiety have been shown to decrease saliva production, causing dry mouth.
- Bad oral health habits: Stressed-out people are often exhausted or pressed for time, making them more likely to neglect their oral health, as well as rely on cigarettes, alcohol, and unhealthy comfort food. All of these habits increase the risk of cavities, gum disease, and other concerns.
Don’t allow stress to wreak havoc on your dental health! Instead, take steps in your daily life to reduce anxiety, such as meditating, doing yoga, and working on your time management skills. Then, fit dentist visits into your busy schedule to keep on top of oral health problems as they arise. To work with the best dentist in New York, contact Park 56 Dental at (212) 826-2322. We have served patients in the 10022 zip code area for over 20 years.
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