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How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

stress and oral healthStress has been shown to impact overall health, but did you know that it can also show signs in your mouth, too? Stress is often associated with poor oral health and increased risk of gum disease, TMJ disorders, and tooth loss. Learn more about how to manage stress and your oral health with Creekside Dentistry & Implantology, a dental provider in Amherst, NY.

4 Ways Stress Affects Oral Health

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding often results from stress and can stem from your own personal lifestyle or stress inside the mouth and jaw from an unresolved dental issue. When teeth, jaw, and the complicated system of muscles in the mouth and neck aren’t functioning properly, it can create tension, which produces headaches, facial pain, and teeth grinding.

Gum Disease

The main cause of periodontal disease is from bacteria being allowed to flourish unchecked in plaque deposits that have built up, but it is also linked to stress. The bacteria in our mouths bond with mucus and other particles to form plaque on teeth. The plaque that isn’t eliminated by brushing and flossing hardens and forms tartar. To rid itself of the bacteria, our immune systems release defense cells that cause areas around the teeth to become inflamed. As our gum tissues swell, they pull away from the teeth creating little pockets that allow more bacteria to settle in. Stress often causes people to be less attentive to proper oral hygiene needed to control plaque build-up as well as weakening the immune system needed to combat the bacteria.

TMJ Disorders

Like teeth grinding, TMJ disorders are often related to stress. Teeth grinding can result in more serious problems within the jaw, causing pain when chewing, headaches, or even bite alignment issues. Stress reduction can help reduce TMJ disorder symptoms, but persistent pain may require advanced treatment from your dentist.

Dry Mouth

Stress releases hormones that can lead to a dry mouth, which is a fertile breeding ground for oral bacteria, the cause of gum disease. In addition, individuals in stressful environments may be less likely to be proactive in practicing healthy habits such as drinking enough water and eating a nutritious diet, which can also lead to a dry mouth.

Managing Your Oral Health When You’re Stressed

Managing stress can be difficult, and it’s easy to forget about your oral health when there are other important things happening in your life. Be sure to maintain your at-home oral hygiene regimen to keep oral bacteria at bay, and incorporate stress-relieving techniques such as walks, exercise, and eating healthy foods.

Schedule an appointment with us at Creekside Dentistry & Implantology online or call our office at (716) 262-8070 if you’re in the Amherst, NY area and looking for help managing your oral health.