Four Ways Stress Can Harm Your Mouth

Four Ways Stress Can Harm Your Mouth

Mar 29, 2016

In today’s world, stress is simply part of daily life for many people. Whether due to work, family, or other obligations, many people are overly stressed – and their dental health is taking a hit as a result.

If you’re under a high amount of stress on a regular basis, it’s time to look at ways to manage it so your smile – and your overall health – can be its best.

Stress and Your Daily Habits

You’ve had a long, hard day at work, stayed up all night to help a sick child, or you’re dealing with a family crisis. Any of these stressful situations may tempt you to just crash in bed without touching your toothbrush or floss. But in times of stress, don’t neglect your mouth! It takes less than 24 hours for plaque to begin to harden to tartar. Then it takes a dentist’s tool to remove it. You’ll feel better if you take the two minutes you need to get your teeth clean and ready for sleep. And, your next dental visit will likely be easier, which can ease some stress too!

Skipping Dental Visits

Many stressed-out people put off their regular cleaning when the schedule gets full. It seems easy to say, “I’ll get to it later,” and put it off for more “urgent” matters. But skipping your regular check-up allows your teeth to accumulate extra plaque and bacteria, and you miss important screenings, including an oral cancer screen. And, with nearly half of all adults suffering from some form of gum disease, this is one appointment you can’t afford to miss.

The Stress and Gum Disease Link

Speaking of gum disease, several studies have found that people with the highest levels of stress are also the most likely to have periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is most treatable when caught early, so seeing your dentist twice a year is one of the best things you can do when you’re stressed!

Tooth Grinding

Tooth grinding is a common issue for people who are under stress. And often, you may not even realize you’re doing it. Grinding, or bruxism, can lead to serious issues, including cracked or chipped teeth, jaw pain, headaches, and wearing down of the tooth enamel. If you think you may be grinding, talk with your dentist about ways you can break the habit and protect your teeth from further damage. Your dentist can also repair any cracks or chips to keep your smile healthy.

If you’re feeling the pressures of daily life, you’re not alone. Try to find healthy ways to deal with stress such as relaxation, regular exercise, support groups, or seeing your physician if needed.

Don’t let stress or anxiety ruin your smile! Contact Dr. Armstrong’s office to schedule your dental visit today!

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