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How Stress Affects Your Teeth and Overall Oral Health

How Stress Affects Your Teeth and Overall Oral Health

In these uncertain and challenging times during the COVID-19 pandemic, our current stress levels may be higher than normal. Fittingly, the month of April is Stress Awareness Month, and we all know how stress can affect our heart, anxiety levels, and moods. At O’Connor Dental Care, we also want to make you aware of 4 ways stress can negatively impact your oral health.

1. Contributing to Clenching and Grinding Your Teeth 
This subconscious, stress-related activity typically happens while you sleep, but can also be experienced during the day. Some of the symptoms include waking up with headaches, pain and soreness in the jaw muscles and joints, and an inability to open your mouth all the way. You may have been elbowed in the side by whoever you’re sleeping next to, too, due to the “nails on a chalkboard” grinding sounds you’re making. Your teeth will show distinct wear patterns, flattened cusps, or even damage to any dental work you have had done.

2. Leading to Mouth Ulcers and Canker Sores
Research shows that stress is a major trigger and risk factor when it comes to developing canker sores. The exact causes of canker sores remain unknown.

3. Reducing Your Ability to Fight Gum Disease
When your body is under constant stress, your immune system is suppressed which makes it harder to fight off the bacteria in the mouth. Your oral health can quickly deteriorate from healthy to gingivitis to periodontitis, potentially leading to serious long-term health effects.

4. Helping Form Bad Oral Health Habits
Stress can help form bad habits, so keep an eye out for these behaviors — for example, biting your nails can cause tooth wear, chips, and even broken front teeth. Also, overeating and bingeing on unhealthy sugary foods can increase your risk of cavities or broken teeth — while in a similar vein, drinking sugary beverages such as energy drinks, sports drinks, soft drinks, and alcohol can also increase your risk of developing cavities.

Hopefully, with a little more insight into how much stress affects your oral health and teeth, you can be proactive by alleviating some of the stressors in your life. We at O’Connor Dental Care know that it is easier said than done, but our goal for you is to have a healthier body, mind, and mouth. Please give our office a call at (859) 441-0033 should you have any stress related oral health concerns!

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