It may not always be obvious to us how stress may affect our oral health. Each person may experience stress differently and may or may not experience some of the following impacts of stress on oral health:
Anxiety and teeth grinding
Anxiety caused by work pressures, personal trauma, accidents and injuries, or relationships may result in a person grinding their teeth by day, night or both. Teeth grinding often takes place in our sleep and we may awake with a sore jaw or teeth. Bruxism is another name for teeth grinding and may lead to tooth wear, tooth pain, broken teeth, bite and jaw disorders.
Comfort foods to alleviate stress
While some people may choose not to eat when stress is experienced, others may opt for lots of comfort foods that are often detrimental for weight gain and dental health. Foods high in sugars and acids may wear tooth enamel causing the structure of the tooth to become damaged.
Individuals eating comfort foods due to stress may be at higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Increased food consumption may lead to weight gain that acts as a trigger for development of further health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Poor health, stress and oral health
An injury may lead to decreased mobility that causes weight gain, affecting oral and overall health. Persons suffering poor health may experience stress as a result of their health condition, and the stress may lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, weight problems, diabetes and cancer that are all linked to oral health condition.
Stress, nail biting and tooth health
When a person bites their nails due to stress, dental abrasion occurs where tooth enamel wears and exposes the inner dentin and even dental pulp to infection. Mechanical abrasion damages teeth and may lead to a range of oral health conditions including bite disorders.
Stress and keeping of dental appointments
Individuals experiencing stress are more likely to miss a dental appointment or totally forget to make one as a result of their mind condition. Coping may become harder, and looking after teeth and gums may not even enter the mind. Without six monthly dental check-ups, from professionals like this dentist in W1 the teeth and gums are vulnerable to decay and disease.
Stress raises risk of oral trauma
The more stressed we are, the more we rush around and raise our risk of accident or injury. Facial injuries may include oral trauma such as lacerations to the cheek, lips, tongue or gums, partial or full dental avulsion, or broken teeth.
Lowering stress and improving oral health
By getting stress levels under control, we are likely to experience better oral health. Seeing a General Practitioner (GP) about stress is the first step to reducing it for improved oral condition and wellbeing. GPs may do a health check-up, medication review, prescribe a medication or refer an individual for counselling to understand the cause of the stress and ill-health.
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Many people feel that the conditions that affect their mouths are confined to the mouth, but the body is an interconnected organism. What affects one part of the body has implications throughout a person’s overall constitution.