How Stress Affects Your Smile

December 29, 2020 3:41 pm
Published by
Brunette man grinds his teeth because of stress that is negatively affecting his quality of life and oral health

Stress can have a considerable effect on your oral health. For example, some people tend to pick up bad dental habits when they are stressed, like nail biting, chewing on pencils, or brushing their teeth too hard or too quickly. But stress can also affect the way your body functions.

Here are four ways that stress can negatively affect your smile.

  1. Bruxism
  2. Bruxism, also known as chronic teeth grinding and clenching, is a side effect of experiencing stress. This extreme pressure can cause damage to your teeth, as well as jaw pain and stiffness.

    Many people don’t notice that they are grinding or clenching their teeth because it happens during their sleep. If you wake up with sensitive teeth, a sore jaw, or a headache, schedule an appointment with us to evaluate your symptoms and the condition of your teeth.

  3. Gum Disease
  4. Chronic stress compromises the immune system and makes a person more vulnerable to infection and disease. One of the ways this affects your oral health is that you are more likely to develop gum disease.

    Ignoring gum disease can lead to tooth loss, so be proactive if you notice bleeding gums. Early-stage gum disease is simple to treat with improved oral health habits, such as daily brushing and flossing, consuming a balanced diet, avoiding tobacco products, and visiting us for routine cleanings and checkups.

  5. Dry Mouth
  6. Stress can impair your salivary glands’ ability to produce saliva. If you can’t produce saliva, you may experience issues like bad breath.

    Saliva is essential for neutralizing acids and removing bacteria from your mouth. If you experience chronic dry mouth, consult with our team to determine its cause as soon as possible. We want to address dry mouth early to prevent oral health issues.

  7. Mouth Sores
  8. If you are experiencing chronic stress, you might get an outbreak of canker sores or cold sores.

How to Reduce Your Stress

Every person is different in how to healthily manage stress. Solutions may include exercise, yoga, meditation, reading a book, spending time with loved ones, talking to a licensed professional, snuggling with your pet, pursuing a hobby, listening to music, taking a nap, etc. Experiment to find what works for you! Remember that lowering your stress will not only improve your oral health but your overall health as well.

Family Dentistry in Wilmington, NC

Our dental team can treat a variety of dental issues associated with stress. If you notice any problems with your oral health or it’s time for your biannual dental exam, please contact us today. We are happy to schedule an appointment to discuss your oral health and how our dental services can help!

Contact Us