Stress and Your Oral Health

Let’s face it; life can be stressful. If you are not finding ways to reduce or manage stress, it can quickly take its toil on your health. Stress can impact your skin, your weight, your heart and even your mouth. Here are three common ways that stress may be affecting your oral health:

Mouth Sores
Canker sores inside your mouth can be your first sign that your stress level is impairing your oral health. Canker sores are known to erupt during times of stress or fatigue. A fever blister, or cold sore, is caused by the herpes simplex virus and is contagious. However, emotional upsets or stress can trigger an outbreak of fever blisters.
Bad Habits
Many nervous or stress-induced habits involve our mouths. Teeth grinding or clenching and nail biting are very common habits that often worsen during times of stress. These habits can wear down your tooth enamel and cause painful TMJ symptoms. Ask your dentist for a custom mouth guard to prevent nighttime teeth grinding (bruxism).
Gum Disease
In times of stress, it is likely that your diet and oral hygiene routine will suffer. Unfortunately, a poor diet combined with meager brushing and flossing habits can create significant problems in your mouth, including gum disease. What once started as manageable gingivitis can quickly worsen to periodontal disease. Ignoring the progression of gum disease can result in tooth loss, which will only add stress to your life!

Your dentist is the first place to go when you are experiencing stress-induced problems in your mouth. Gum disease, TMJ and mouth sores can all be effectively treated by your dentist. However, until you find ways to reduce or eliminate the stress in your life, you will not be treating your mouth symptoms at their source. Do your part to manage stress – your smile will thank you!

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