Well, we all know the bad effects of stress on our body , mind and skin ,but very few people actually know what it does to your teeth and gums!
You are aware of the physical and emotional symptoms of stress such migraines, blood pressures, heart problems, depression and anxiety. But did you know that stress can also affect your oral and dental health? It’s important to pinpoint the causes of your stress and know your body’s early warning signs especially dental signs and take steps to reduce your stress.
Yes! Stress absolutely ruins oral health and in fact, bad oral health is considered a direct indicator of high stress in your life!
You would never know if there is stress in your body, unless indicators like these issue a warning!!!
Recently, a patient walked into one of our Partha Clinics with severe gum erosion, infection and damage to teeth. On taking medical history we realized that he did not have any bad habits like smoking, tobacco chewing etc, not was his diet lacking in nutrition and yet, he was experiencing horrible symptoms of dental decay. Talking to the patient further we were shocked to hear that he had very high stress as a share marketer, he also could not sleep at night, he was battling insomnia and so we realized that stress was causing his gums to erode and teeth to decay! hence, this blog today.
Most people think that eating good food and keeping teeth clean is all it takes to have good dental health but that is only half the truth. Avoiding stress and regular sleep too is a necessary condition in today’s stressful world; in getting your teeth to shine and sparkle.
So let us see the different oral health conditions that can occur due to stress.
Oral infections or Canker sores- These are white or red spots, lines or little pus filled pimples in the inner lining of your mouth. These are extremely painful and hurt a lot while eating salty food. Many people use over –the –top ointments and creams and gels that are available in the market to cure these sores. If left on their own they can heal in 2-3 weeks without medication. These canker sores are directly correlated with stress and lack of sleep .These can be brought on by stress has been proved in clinical researches in the University of Leads medical research centre in UK.
Teeth Grinding or Bruxism – This is an early indication of stress in individuals especially children. Many kids during the time of exams or other anxiety filled events like competitions etc are known to develop Bruxism. It can cause damage to your teeth and enamel as well as headaches and soreness in the jaw. As grinding often occurs during the night you may not be aware you are doing it but it is ruining your teeth nevertheless. Your dentist may recommend a night guard to protect your teeth from damage. Sometimes in adults experiencing some stress, teeth grinding can happen during the day, as well especially if you are concentrating on something.
Gum Disease: Stress can lower your immune system and increase your risk for infection in the mouth, including gum decay, bleeding gums, gum rot, infections and bad smelling breath and in some cases the “Burn mouth syndrome” too in which the patient just cannot feel any taste or salt and feels like a layer is always covering the insides of the mouth and the mouth isn’t clean. All these are symptoms set on by stress.
Dry Mouth- Another common dental problem which is both a side effect of stress as well as the medicines used to treat stress and depression is the Dry Mouth. The mouth’s first line of defense against bacteria is saliva, and in this disease the saliva reduces, without enough saliva there is an increased risk of tooth decay and fall, gum disease and infection.
Jaw issues, or disorders of the jaw joint or chewing muscles. These can cause pain around the ear or face and the patient thinks that the pain is due to the teeth, whereas the pain is due to the jaw muscles being affected due to stress, teeth grinding or low immunity.
General Tooth Decay: Just as we saw in the patient who walked it with severe tooth damage despite good food and no bad habits, similarly a generalized tooth decay is seen in people with high stress jobs or lifestyle. A neglected oral health routine, unhealthy lifestyle choices and conditions such as dry mouth further increase the risk of tooth decay.
Decreased immune response, caused by stress, which can lead to periodontal (gum) disease.
Reduce your stress symptoms
It’s important to get to the root of the problem and figure out why you’re stressed. Once you’ve pinpointed the causes, think about how to lower your stress levels. In the meantime, follow these steps to get relief for painful oral symptoms:
Talk to your dentist about treatment options and visit a Partha dental clinic near to your place.
Address teeth grinding by asking your dentist about getting a custom-fitted night guard. It can be worn at night to prevent tooth damage caused from grinding and clenching. The night guard also creates a cushion to remove stress on your aching muscles and joint tissues.
Avoid hard, sugary, sticky or crunchy foods as they ruin teeth health and cause dental decay.
Don’t use cigarettes and alcohol to handle stress as they further aggravate the problem. These products make your oral symptoms worse.
Manage pain through gentle massage, physical therapy or pain relief medications.
Ask about prescription medications. Anti-inflammatory drugs can help inflammation of the jaw joint. Antiviral drugs may prevent cold sores.
Eat health food and try meditation and yoga to calm yourself down.
Avoid stress and have healthy teeth and shining smile!