How Teeth and Gums Can be Affected by Stress

Under Stress? Examine Your Mouth

Stress is prevalent and is encountered in different ways. Short-term stress is more common and often viewed as helpful. It can stimulate creative thinking and enhance problem-solving skills and poses little risk to the overall health. Chronic stress is often more problematic and has been linked to significant changes in hormonal and nervous systems. It can also adversely affect the health of the mouth and its structures. Here are some ways it can do that.

Your teeth can chip. You might be grinding away your enamel with constant grinding, especially at night time when you are not even aware of it. It can also happen in the day time. Do your teeth edges seem to appear of the same length, or do you notice jagged edges? Any existing fillings may chip or break caused by grinding and suddenly you’d feel tooth sensitivity. It can end up as extreme erosion, exposing dentin and nerves, and can be painful.

Grinding your teeth can also lead to headaches, neck pain and upper back pain, possibly even developing into migraines. If you consistently wake up with headaches or neck pain you may well be grinding your teeth in your sleep. It can also cause jaw pain when you wake up, as your temporomandibular joint bore the tension of constant grinding in the night.

Chronic stress can affect gum health. Chronic stress lowers your immune strength and can result in sore, inflamed gums that bleed every time you brush. It also likely raises your chances of getting canker sores inside your mouth, small spots with a white or grayish base that have red borders. They show up in pairs or in greater numbers. Also, when you’re feeling upset, it can trigger an outbreak of cold sores on or around your lips. They’re filled with fluid, sometimes called fever blisters.

How can stress lead to bad breath?

Stress can result in dehydration, leading to lack of saliva flow. With less saliva, acid and sugar interact on the enamel and can cause tooth decay and cavities, which means bad breath. Apart from these, people under extreme stress tend to forego oral cleaning habits. With their moods affected, they may tend to skip brushing, flossing, and rinsing. This raises the chances of getting cavities or gum disease.

Dental Care in Bellingham

If you’ve got any of these oral manifestations, talk to our Bellingham dentist soon. Early intervention can stop the progress of these conditions. For stress, we might have to advise you to consult with your doctor.