On Stress And Your Teeth

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At McKinney Smiles, we know that quite a few of our patients suffer from some amounts of stress on a regular basis. In our fast-paced society, it’s hard not be a little stressed out from time to time. This is why at our McKinney dental office, we are proud to offer worry-free dental services in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. We understand that the last thing you need is to feel anxious about going to the dentist.

We also know that too much stress in the lives can lead to health problems in our bodies and with our teeth, mouth and gums. Everything from headaches to stomach aches, and even more serious health problems like high blood pressure, can be the result of too much stress in your life. Stress can also trigger a variety of oral health issues as well. Oral issues related to stress can show up through mouth sores, excessive grinding of teeth, eating unhealthy amounts of sugary and high carbohydrate foods, and even periodontitis, or gum disease. Read on to find out more about identifying the causes of stress and what can be done to treat these oral related stress issues.

Preventing Mouth Sores

You may have had canker sores from time to time, or seen them on others. They often look like small, grey ulcers with a red border around them. Though the medical community is not in complete agreement about what causes these painful sores, (they could be viral, bacterial or immune related), the main sources are believed to be stress, exhaustion, and allergies. Though canker sores can be uncomfortable and unsightly, they are not contagious. Most canker sores will heal themselves with a seven to 10 days, and to treat them – a topical over-the-counter antiseptic is recommended. Also, avoiding spicy foods and foods and drinks that are high in acid like tomatoes or citrus juices, will also keep your sores from being irritated.

Grinding Your Teeth

One of the most well-known oral problems caused by stress is grinding or clenching your teeth. Sometimes this can occur at night or during the day, and often it is an unconscious occurrence. If you already know you suffer from teeth grinding, or bruxism as it’s known in the dental world, stress can make it even worse. Why is grinding so bad for teeth? Well, for one, it can wear down the tooth enamel and cause cracks or break in the teeth. It can also lead to things like TMJ where the joint at the jaw and skull becomes sore and very painful. They are some very effective ways to treat teeth grinding though – from wearing night guards as you sleep to other devices that can help avoid this dental problem. Dr. Paul Lawrence, your McKinney dentist of choice, would be glad to help identify and treat most causes of teeth grinding.

Moods and Eating Poorly

Increased stress levels are also known to have an adverse effect on your disposition, and these changes can cause your to neglect your oral care habits like brushing and flossing. These basic, daily habits are key to making sure you teeth and gums are properly cared for, If you already suffer from gum disease, also known as periodontitis, forgetting to brush or floss can create serious issues for you. Stress is also known to lead to eating unhealthy items, like binging on sugar, soft drinks, or carbohydrate rich foods. When you have increased levels of sugar and carbs in your mouth, harmful bacteria begins to form and eat away at your tooth enamel which can cause cavities and decay. A much better solution is to keep with you healthy snack like nuts, celery or dairy items which also not only great snacks but even can be beneficial to your oral health. Exercise is also a proven way to cut down on stress and its effects on your whole body health.

If you would like more information about how to treat any of these stress-induced oral issues, please contact our office or schedule an appointment today!