5 Things Stress Does to Your Teeth

Everyone experiences the occasional stressful day; but prolonged bouts of stress can eventually lead to problems with your teeth and gums. Take a moment to learn about the different ways stress can affect your oral health, as explained by Dr. Robert Milner.

1.)  Bruxism

Stress can cause you to grind or clench your teeth repeatedly. You may not even realize you are doing it, as the grinding or clenching can occur while you sleep. Chronic tooth grinding or clenching wears the tooth enamel down, weakening the teeth and making them more susceptible to cracking, chipping or breaking.

Chronic tooth grinding or clenching may also contribute to the development of problems with the temporomandibular joint (the joint connecting the skull to the lower jaw).

2.)  Infection

Stress is also believed to lower your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections such as an infection of the gum tissue (more commonly known as gum disease). If gum disease is left untreated, it can gradually destroy the structures holding your teeth in place.

3.)  Canker Sores

Stress is believed to increase the chances of getting canker sores, or small spots that form inside the mouth. Canker sores can appear in pairs or even clusters. Though canker sores are harmless, they can be uncomfortable.

4.)  Dry Mouth

Another side effect of stress as well as medications that are often prescribed for anxiety or depression is dry mouth. Without a normal flow of saliva, you are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease.

5.)  Impact on Oral Health Routine and Diet

There are other subtle ways that stress can affect your oral health. For example, if you are under significant amounts of stress, you may be less likely to follow your normal oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing. Ignoring good oral hygiene habits can put you at risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Another subtle way that stress may affect the health of your teeth and gums is by impacting what you eat. If you are very stressed, you may find yourself making unhealthy diet choices; you may be more likely to opt for sugary or starchy foods and beverages instead of making healthier choices. Eating a lot of sugar or starchy foods can increase your risk of developing cavities and gum disease.

Keep Stress from Affecting Your Oral Health

First, it’s important to find ways to lower your stress levels, whether that is through exercise, meditation, deep breathing exercises or working with a medical professional. Also, stay committed to practicing good oral hygiene habits and eating a healthy diet that gives you the nutrients your body needs.

Dr. Milner would be happy to give you more tips for maintaining oral health through bouts of stress. Feel free to contact our office today.