How Stress Plays a Factor in Your Oral Health

A little-known fact is that stress can impact your oral health. WebMD notes that there is a wide range of things that can stress us out, from divorce or loss of a job to death of a family member or working too hard:
Symptoms often include headaches, digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, and muscle tension. Less noticeable is that stress causes our immune system to stop functioning at its optimum. People often react to these unpleasant feelings by indulging in junk food, overeating, smoking or drinking more, or gambling.
We may even get lazy about our brushing and flossing routine, resulting in periodontal bacteria flourishing while the immune system is down. This could lead to the loss of teeth and an infection of the jaw, requiring bone grafts. And periodontal bacteria increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
How else could long-term stress affect your oral health?
Dry mouth: Saliva fights bacteria and helps prevent cavities and gum disease, but stress reduces salvia, as can some medications.  
Canker sores: These painful (though otherwise harmless) mouth ulcers can be the result of stress, as well as vitamin B deficiency or irritation. We can provide you with a gel or cream to reduce the normal healing time of 1-2 weeks.
Nail-biting: Biting nails is a common way people react to stress and it can actually cause teeth to be moved slightly out of position. This opens the way for bacteria to get into the gum line, including any germs or viruses that happen to be on the hands.
Grinding teeth: Anxiety often manifests at night in grinding teeth, known as bruxism (if you don’t think you do this and are under a lot of pressure, ask your partner). This can create symptoms like soreness in the jaw and headaches. Bruxism not only wears down teeth, but loosens them and can lead to their loss. We can provide you with a night mouth guard that will prevent the damage.
TMJ disorder: The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your lower jaw to the skull (you can feel these hinges if you put your fingers just in front of the lower ears and open and close your mouth). The TMJ can malfunction for reasons that range from stress and missing teeth to nutritional deficiencies or excessive gum chewing. Symptoms may include a clicking sound when you open and close your mouth, soreness in your jaw, ringing or congestion in your ears, or swelling on the side of the face. 
Let us help you offset the effects of stress on your oral health.

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1415 Ridgeback Rd #23
Chula Vista, CA 91910

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