Stress can have a huge impact on our physical and mental well-being. But did you know that stress can also take its toll on our teeth? Celebrity Demi Moore has recently attributed the loss of her front teeth to stress and whilst this is rare, dental experts agree that stress can affect our teeth.
We look at the ways in which stress can influence oral health:
- Gum Disease
Consistently bleeding gums is a sign that you could have gum disease which can be caused or exacerbated by stress. Bacteria from plaque on your teeth can cause inflammation of the gums and this is known as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis where the gums pull away from the tooth forming gaps which contain bacteria. The good news is that your dentist or hygienist has several ways to treat gingivitis and periodontitis.
It’s also a good idea to visit your dentist and hygienist regularly to ensure you have a healthy brushing and flossing routine.
Bruxism is the official name given to teeth grinding or clenching your jaws. Stress can frequently lead to bruxism, but since teeth grinding occurs most frequently at night, you may not even be aware that you are doing it. Bruxism can lead to shortening of your teeth, flat tips of your teeth and worn away enamel which can lead to sensitivity.
Your dentist can examine your teeth to see if you are suffering from bruxism and they can recommend the best treatment for you.
- Dental Abscesses
An abscess is a collection of pus on the teeth or gums which is caused by bacterial infection. They are painful and need to be treated by a dentist. Abscesses can be caused when you are stressed because your body’s immune system is low and cannot fight infections as well.
- Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
A common sign of stress is a clenching jaw and if this is repeated over time it can lead to a clicking or painful jaw. It is estimated that 30% of adults will experience TMD at some point in their lives.
A visit to your dentist can help and prevent further problems to your oral health.
Bad breath or halitosis can be caused by the increase of stomach acids which we experience in times of stress. Your hygienist can make recommendations to your diet and to your hygiene routine that can help.
Stress can have a big impact on your oral health which can then cause more anxiety and worry. Targeting the cause of stress is essential to break the cycle. Your dentist can work with you to treat these issues and help prevent them occurring again in the future.