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How Can Chronic Stress Affect My Oral Health?

January 12, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — chaskadentistteam @ 9:37 pm
Lady is stressed out

Life can be stressful sometimes. While stress can sometimes be a good thing that helps us rise to meet our challenges and avoid troublesome situations, too much stress over too long a period of time can have negative side effects for your health. While most people know that constant stress can take its toll on the health of their heart, skin, and digestive tract, many may not know of the harsh consequences it can have for your oral health. Here’s how chronic stress can hurt your smile and how you can protect it.

Don’t Let Your Teeth Grind or Your Oral Health will Unwind

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is an unfortunately common habit. Many people consciously grind their teeth when awake as a response to stress or frustration, and many others involuntarily grind their teeth while they sleep. This habit can damage teeth by flattening incisors and causing chips and cracks to form. If allowed to continue, it can affect the alignment of the teeth, cause painful disorders in the jaw, and even lead to tooth loss.

If you have a problem with teeth grinding, there are a few things you can do to control it. If you grind your teeth while awake, making an effort to be aware of the action and stop when you catch yourself doing it can eventually break the habit. If you grind your teeth when you sleep, you can wear a mouthguard to bed that will absorb most of the force and prevent much of the damage.

Don’t Let Your Hygiene Fall by the Wayside

Chronic stress can have unpleasant consequences on a person’s mental health, and depression is just one of them. Many people who are depressed can find themselves too exhausted or apathetic to do much, and this can lead them to neglect brushing and flossing. Being aware of your stress levels and your hygienic needs can help you manage the problem so you don’t miss dental cleaning sessions. You might want to try using an app to set an alarm to remind you to brush.

Don’t Use Destructive Habits to Cope

When faced with stress, many people turn to tobacco or alcohol to take the edge off. Unfortunately, tobacco use is horrible for your oral health due to harmful chemicals that can erode your gums while staining the teeth. Alcohol abuse is also a bad route because it will expose your teeth to acid while inhibiting saliva production by dehydrating the body. If you’re looking for a way to relieve stress, exercise is a great way to get endorphins flowing while burning pent-up energy.

Don’t let stress get the best of your oral health. By being aware of the ways stress can harm your teeth and other oral tissues, you can take measures to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

About the Author

Dr. Mark Stapleton earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry before completing an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association and a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. His office in Chaska, MN offers general, restorative, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry. For more information on protecting your smile, contact his office online or dial (952) 448-2868.

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