Doctors have been telling us for years that stress can increase the risk of everything from high blood pressure to depression. But how often do we think about how stress influences our smile in Bloomington? Here are some dental problems linked to stress.
Canker and Cold Sores
Cold sores are a symptom of the herpes simplex virus. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes canker sores but suspect they are related to infection, virus, or a weak immune system. If you are prone to mouth sores, you probably already know that stress seems to bring them on or extend healing times. If you get these sores frequently, talk to your doctor or dentist. Your healthcare provider can counsel you on medications, diet, and stress reduction practices.
It’s no surprise that teeth grinding is detrimental to your smile in Bloomington. It starts with enamel wear, then loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. During this progression, there may be other troubles such as gum recession, headaches, and TMD. If you grind your teeth, it’s important to address this condition as soon as possible. In addition to stress, there are many factors that can cause or exacerbate teeth grinding such as bad bite and medications.
Your dentist may prescribe an appliance to safeguard your teeth and keep your jaw in the proper position while you are sleeping. Other treatments include cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation therapies, mandibular advancement devices, physical therapy, and medication. Your dentist can design a treatment plan and work with you and your doctor to manage or eliminate this condition. Sleep apnea can also be exacerbated by stress. Oral appliances can treat some forms of sleep apnea
There are many direct and indirect causes of TMD. For example, the inability to manage stress may cause jaw clenching which, in turn, causes pain in the jaw joint. Other symptoms of TMD include tenderness, pain, or swelling in the neck, ear, face, or shoulder; popping or clicking sounds; and changes in bite alignment. Again, if you experience any of these, meet with your dentist.
Gum Disease and Oral Health
Stress can reduce your ability to fight plaque build-up which can cause periodontitis. Furthermore, some people miss brushing and flossing when they are experiencing high levels of stress. Be sure to pay special attention to your smile in Bloomington if you’re stressed.
It’s not uncommon for people to consume more sugar, snack more often between meals, or drink more alcoholic beverages when experiencing increased stress. All this at a time when vigilant oral hygiene is often not a person’s first priority!
Remember, a healthy smile will give you one less to worry about, so schedule an appointment with your dentist to protect your dental health. We offer services such as gum disease treatment, teeth whitening, and dental crowns.