Being constantly under stress can result in various detrimental effects on your body including frequent headaches, upset stomach, and issues with sex and sleep. However, chronic stress not only affects your physical and mental health but also hurts your mouth and teeth.
Keep on reading to discover the six common stress-related conditions that affect your dental health and ways to prevent them in the first place.
1. Teeth grinding Most people grind their teeth while sleeping. Teeth grinding is quite common and typically leads to an aching jaw, headaches, and damaged teeth. In severe cases, it may result in loose and cracked teeth and associated tooth loss. Anxiety and a stressful lifestyle are major risk factors for teeth grinding. Reducing your stress with meditation, counseling, and exercise can help decrease your odds of developing this problem. A dental specialist may also recommend you to wear a mouth guard at night to prevent experiencing problems associated with teeth grinding.
2. TMJ disorder Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your jawbone to the skull and enable you to move your lower jaw. If these joints get swollen or stiff, it can result in TMJ disorder. Patients typically experience pain, problems when trying to open their mouth, difficulty chewing, and clicking or popping noises in their jaw. Stress is one of the main causes of TMJ problems. For instance, stress can cause you to clench your jaws and gnash your teeth. To treat TMJ symptoms, a dental specialist may recommend a soft diet, anxiety drugs, and meditation.
3. Canker sores Like most people, you’ve most likely experienced sudden attacks of these painful shallow sores inside your mouth and along your gumline. Common causes of cancer sores include mouth injury and irritation, and vitamin B deficiency. Various experts now claim that stress is another major cause of cancer sores. Try to decrease your odds of getting cancer sores by reducing your stress. And if you suffer from cankers, a dental specialist may recommend a cream or gel to ease the pain.
4. Gum disease Stress decreases your body’s ability to fight off infections. Gum disease is a serious infection of your gums. It may lead to loose teeth, halitosis, and bleeding gums. Stress can also increase your odds of developing gum disease by causing you to clench your jaws, grind your teeth, and smoke cigarettes. In case of severe gum damage, it’s best to consult a periodontist. He or she will recommend a treatment plan which may include stress management.
5. Burning mouth Burning mouth syndrome is a condition in which your tongue, lips, palate, or areas all over your mouth feel hot, dry, and burning. This condition can occur due to numerous causes including stress, depression, and anxiety. Burning mouth syndrome is prevalent in menopausal women, so hormonal imbalance may also be the culprit. Your treatment may include stress reduction and antidepressants. If you smoke or drink when feeling stressed, you’re worsening your burning mouth symptoms.
6. Nail biting Most people start biting their nails due to prolonged stress. This bad habit can be detrimental to your dental and overall health. Nail biting can damage your teeth’ protective layer and can eventually lead to shifting teeth. Besides, mixing the germs from your fingernails with germs in your mouth can result in various oral infections. You can even spread palmar warts that occur on your hands to your oral tissues. Bacteria and viruses that accumulate on your hands can also spread to different parts of your body through your mouth. To stop biting your nails, find better ways to ease stress, or consult your doctor for help.