When we experience stress, we usually think about it expressing itself in ways like emotional swings, tight or tense muscles, and even poor quality of sleep as our minds race and become difficult to power down.
But did you know that stress can also affect your smile?
Here are three ways stress can impact your oral health.
1. Teeth grinding has many causes—and stress is one of them. You may be grinding your teeth at night if you wake up with frequent headaches caused by clenching your jaw as it moves back and forth. Other signs of teeth grinding include jaw pain, TMJ and a change in the look of your face. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, we can help with a custom bite guard.
2. Did you know that when the body experiences stress, its ability to produce immune cells that help protect against bacteria is compromised? That’s what recent research out of Tufts University shows—which isn’t good news for your gums. During times of stress, bacteria that causes gum disease has a better chance of laying down roots in your mouth, resulting in a higher risk of gum infection and ultimately, periodontal disease.
3. During times of stress, it’s easy to neglect our self-care practices. We might shower less than usual, skip exercising, choose junk food over a healthy option, and even stop caring for our teeth as we normally would. Skipping out on brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing nightly can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay.
If you’re experiencing oral health problems related to stress, we’re here for you. Contact us today to book an appointment—we look forward to seeing you.