OUR MENTAL WELL-BEING can often have an impact on our physical health. Among those impacts are the ways that oral health can be affected by stress. With all the changes and uncertainty created by the Coronavirus pandemic and shelter-in-place, you may be feeling alot of stress lately. It’s good to be aware of signs that stress is affecting your oral health and what you can do to manage it. Grinding Your Teeth? Stress May Be Behind It. The technical term for habitual teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching is bruxism, and clenching and grinding are natural responses to stress and frustration for some people. Common signs of bruxism include flattened chewing surfaces of the teeth and a sore jaw, and the risks to oral health from this habit are significant. People with bruxism may not even realize they’re doing it, especially if they do it in their sleep rather than during the day.
Stress Can Compound TMD Symptoms Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a disorder of the jaw joint, muscles, and nerves associated with chronic facial pain. Like with bruxism, stress is believed to be a contributing factor, resulting in soreness and pain in the temporomandibular joint, frequent headaches, and popping and clicking in the jaw.
Our Immune Systems Are Weakened by Stress When stress goes on for lengthy periods of time, it can put a lot of strain on the immune system, making it harder to fight back as effectively against things like oral infections, canker sores, cavities, dry mouth, and gum disease.
Always Prioritize Oral Health and Hygiene The many negative effects of stress only make it more important to keep up with good oral hygiene habits like daily flossing and brushing for two minutes twice a day. Spending just a few minutes looking after our teeth each day can make a huge difference in our oral health. Having healthy teeth and gums might not address whatever’s stressing you out, but it can definitely help you feel a little better and more in control.
Check out this video for a few quick ideas on de-stressing:
You Have Allies in This Fight As dental health experts, we want to make sure that oral health is one thing our patients don’t have to stress about. We realize that the idea of going to the dentist can be stressful on its own for many people, but we’re here to help. We encourage everyone to keep up with their regular dental appointments, and especially to schedule one if you experience symptoms of oral health problems like TMD or bruxism. We’re Here for You During Shelter-in-Place Rest assured that If you experience a dental emergency during the shelter-in-place, please know that we’re here for you. Due to limited staff and hours, our regular email and phone communication may not be available. To reach us during the lockdown, call (650) 246-9214 or (650) 898-7181.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical condition