Stress can have a number of negative effects on the body, including oral health. There are many sources of stress in our daily lives, so it can be hard to know exactly how your stress levels are impacting your oral health. However, there are some common ways that stress affects your teeth.
When we're stressed, our body releases hormones that trigger a number of physical reactions. In the mouth, these stress hormones can lead to grinding and clenching teeth together; a condition called bruxism. Bruxism is associated with higher risks of developing gum disease and tooth loss due to the amount of pressure on the teeth and jaw muscles. Over time, this constant pressure can wear down the teeth' enamel, causing small fractures or wearing away the tooth's surface entirely. This can lead to sensitivity, pain, and potential infection of the tooth pulp.
In some cases, the damaged tooth may break and require extraction. Severe cases of chronic bruxism may require an oral appliance to be worn while sleeping to protect the teeth from further damage.
Emotional stress can manifest in many ways, including an increased rate of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Over time, this can lead to painful temporomandibular joint disorder.
That's because when you're not consciously aware of your muscle movements, they just happen. Many people who experience anxiety or severe stress clench their teeth without even realizing it. Over time, the repeated force can damage your teeth and lead to tooth sensitivity, broken restorations, or even tooth loss. That's why it's so important to treat TMJ disorders as soon as possible. If left untreated, the condition can become quite serious and may require surgery to repair.
Additionally, poor nutrition is a common side effect of stress. This often means you're eating sugary, processed foods that your body needs to break down for energy. Unfortunately, these foods are bad for your teeth and can lead to tooth decay. Overall, there are a variety of ways in which stress impacts your oral health. If you're concerned about how stress is affecting you, you should contact your dentist today to discuss your concerns. That way, you can be evaluated and treated when necessary.
In order to avoid the effects of stress on the teeth, it's best to try to manage stress levels with relaxation techniques such as meditation and exercise. Additionally, avoid habits such as smoking or chewing on hard objects that can further increase the risk of damage to the teeth.
Schedule an appointment with South Friendswood Dental Associates for comprehensive oral care. We are located at 699 S Friendswood Dr., Suite #108, Friendswood, TX 77546. Contact us at (281) 482-7731 or visit our website to book an appointment.