Do You Have a Stressed Out Smile?

Considering the current climate of our nation, stress is both common and understandable. Regardless of your stage of life or what is causing your stress, there some unfortunate consequences it can have on your health. While you may be aware of the heart and digestive health threats of chronic stress, you may not realize the significant impact that stress can have on your smile. In fact, ignoring your stress levels can lead to many oral health problems, from mouth sores to tooth damage.

Here is a closer look at the ways that stress affects your oral health:

Mouth Sores
Canker sores and fever blisters commonly emerge during times of stress.

Unfortunately, stress often causes a lowered immune system and fatigue, which limits your body’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria in the mouth. While the herpes simplex virus causes a fever blister, stressful or emotional upsets can trigger an outbreak of these cold sores.

Gum Disease and Decay
Regular dental checkups and diligent oral hygiene are your best weapons against gum disease and tooth decay. However, during stressful seasons, many patients slack on their brushing and flossing efforts. In addition, stressed out individuals may consume more sugary foods, which increases your risk for dental health problems. Gum disease can quickly go from manageable gingivitis to advanced periodontitis if it is not treated properly. Ignoring the signs of oral health problems can result in tooth loss and other serious consequences – which certainly won’t help your stress levels.

Tooth Wear and Jaw Problems
Do you grind your teeth, clench your jaw or chew on pencils when you are feeling stressed?  Your stressed-out habits may be compromising your smile. Stress is one of the most common triggers for bruxism, either during the day or during the night. Not only can teeth grinding damage your teeth, but it can also lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.  Pencil chewing, ice chomping and nail biting are also bad oral health habits to avoid.

At Park South Dentistry, we can recognize and treat a vast range of dental health problems caused by stress. However, we also encourage patients to find ways to eliminate stress from their life in order to avoid recurring dental problems. Whether it is freeing up your schedule, exercising more or talking to a counselor, reducing stress is vitally important to your health and your smile. If your anxiety levels are consistently high and you notice signs of gum disease, tooth damage or mouth sores, please give us a call sooner rather than later. We promise to create a relaxed and hassle-free experience!

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