Don’t Let Worries Stress Your Teeth Out
There are quite a few things in life that can affect your oral health. What you eat should be an obvious influence, but others include existing health conditions, current medications, and excessive levels of stress. While modest stress levels can prove beneficial by motivating and protecting us, prolonged stress elevation can prove detrimental to your health. Our stress response, or “fight-or-flight response,” was meant to keep us on high alert and ready to react in dangerous situations. When everyday concerns keep you consistently stressed, your body remains on high alert, which places you at risk for serious health complications. Your oral health, as well, suffers from excessive stress levels. Dallas dentist Dr. Brock Lynn explains how.
The Effects of Stress on Your Oral Health
The following are among the oral health conditions that excessive stress can contribute to:
- Canker sores—Though the exact cause of canker sores remains a mystery, they often seem to appear due to stress. These small oral sores are typically harmless and do not cause permanent damage, but they can cause extreme discomfort.
- Bruxism—The habit of grinding your teeth, called bruxism, can irreversibly damage your teeth through excessive wear. Many people tend to grind or clench their teeth in brief moments of stress, but others tend to do it constantly, sometimes because of prolonged stress. The condition is usually treated with a mouthguard to protect your teeth while you sleep at night.
- TMJ dysfunction—Distress in your jaw joints (temporomandibular joints, or TMJs) can also stem from stress and bruxism. Tooth grinding is a natural response to tension, but the added pressure on your jaw joints and the muscles that surround them can damage your TMJs and lead to TMJ dysfunction.
- Poor oral hygiene—A common side effect of excessive stress is depression. Sufferers of depression tend to grow lax in their hygiene, or perhaps the sources of your stress make you feel as though there is no time for trivial matters like brushing your teeth. Whatever the reason, stress can affect your oral hygiene care, greatly increasing your chances of developing oral health issues like tooth decay and gum disease.
To learn more about protecting your oral health from dangerous factors, including stress, contact your Dallas dentist by calling Lynn Dental Care at 972-934-1400. Located in the 75240 area, we proudly serve patients from Dallas, Highland Park, Park Cities, and all surrounding communities.