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How Stress Can Affect Teeth & Gums

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How Stress Can Affect Teeth & Gums

Stress has an impact on everything, including your dental and oral health. It’s another reason why it’s important to understand how to relax and release stress until it harms your body. In this article, we’ll discuss the damage stress can bring to our dental and oral health.

What Stress Does To Our Teeth & Gums

Stress Can Cause Or Worsen Tooth Decay

Stress can lead to changes in behaviour and habits that affect dental health, such as neglecting regular brushing and flossing or going for sugary comfort foods. Additionally, stress may weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can also contribute to a more acidic oral environment, accelerating the process of enamel erosion and tooth decay.

It Can Bring Gum Disease

Chronic stress can compromise the body’s ability to cope with infections, including those in the gums. Prolonged stress may lead to inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis, which, if left untreated, can progress to more severe periodontal disease. Stress-induced changes in saliva production and composition may also contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. This is why anxiety makes mouth dry and cause mouth ulcers.

Stress Can Lead To Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching, is a common response to stress and anxiety. Grinding teeth can cause significant damage over time, including wear and tear on tooth enamel, cracked or fractured teeth, jaw pain, and headaches. Chronic bruxism can also lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, further exacerbating discomfort and oral health issues.

It Can Cause Disorders of Joints

Stress-related tension and muscle tightness can affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the jawbone to the skull. Prolonged stress may lead to jaw pain, difficulty chewing, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint, and even lockjaw. These symptoms can significantly impact oral function and overall quality of life.

Stress and dental problems form a vicious cycle because once you experience any dental issues, your stress may worsen. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and seek professional mental health help if necessary to avoid the consequences of prolonged stressful feelings.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today at Thurmaston Dental Practice, Leicester!

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