How Stress Affects Your Oral Health
We all know that too much is not good for your overall health and wellness. Too much stress can have a major impact on your whole body, including your mouth, teeth, and gums.
Stress can affect your oral health in a variety of ways including:
- Mouth sores (canker and cold sores)
- Clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism)
- Neglecting oral hygiene
- Eating a bad diet (sugary foods)
- Gum disease or periodontal disease
- Picking up bad habits like chewing your nails, ice, pencils, and other objects
The best way to prevent these stress-related issues from occuring is to maintain a good oral health regimen with assistance from your dentist and hygienist.
Here are some ways you can fight off stress-related oral health issues:
Canker sores — small ulcers with a white or grayish base and bordered in red — appear inside the mouth, sometimes in pairs or even greater numbers. Experts aren’t sure what causes them. It could be immune system problems, bacteria, or viruses. But they do think that stress, as well as fatigue and allergies, can increase the chance of getting them. Canker sores are not contagious.
What to do: To reduce irritation, don’t eat spicy, hot foods or foods with a high acid content, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits. Most canker sores disappear in a week to 10 days. For relief, try over-the-counter topical anesthetics.
Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that often appear on or around the lips, but can also crop up under the nose or around the chin.
Emotional upset can trigger an outbreak. So can a fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.
What to do: Like canker sores, fever blisters often heal on their own in a week or so, but since the virus that causes them can be spread, you should start treatment as soon as you notice the cold sore forming. Medications include over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Ask your doctor or dentist if you could benefit from either.
Stress may make you clench and grind your teeth — during the day or at night, and often subconsciously. Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism.
If you already clench and grind your teeth, stress could make the habit worse. And, grinding your teeth can lead to problems with thetemporomandibular joint (TMJ), located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet.
What to do: See your doctor and ask what can be done for the clenching and grinding. Your dentist may recommend a night guard, worn as you sleep, or another appliance to help you stop or minimize the actions.
Tribeca Smiles specializes in night guard treatment for teeth grinding patients. We also have treatment for those suffering from sleep apnea.
With our addition of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine available at Tribeca Smiles, we can be sure to help you relieve some of the stress that is affecting your oral health.
Call us today to schedule your consultation.
This entry was posted in Tribeca Smiles Dental Blog and tagged bruxism, canker sores, cold sores, cold sores in mouth, How Stress Affects Your Oral Health, oral health, stress, stress affect oral health, teeth grinding, tmj on October 9, 2014 by tribecasmiles.
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