Stress isn’t something that’s just in your head. It also shows up in your body. You may be aware of the health conditions, such as headaches and stomach problems, that are worsened by stress. However, it can also take a toll on your teeth and gums. In light of Stress Awareness Month, Oakton dentist Dr. Michael Chung explains five ways stress can affect your oral health:
- Teeth grinding: Stress can cause you to grind or clench your teeth. It often happens without you noticing. You might do it during the day, when you are asleep, or both. If you already struggle with bruxism, added stress will usually make the condition worse.
- Jaw issues: Many people have problems with their jaw joints that are collectively referred to as TMJ. One of the most common triggers for TMJ flare-ups is stress. TMJ symptoms such as headaches, facial pain, and clicking sounds worsen during a flare-up.
- Cracked teeth: Cases of cracked, broken, and severely worn teeth have soared in recent years. Tooth damage is an unpleasant side effect of grinding and clenching. Often, a dental crown will be needed to restore strength, function, and aesthetics.
- Poor oral hygiene: Good habits tend to fall to the wayside in times of stress. You may find yourself neglecting your regular oral health routine. In addition, you might bite your nails, chew on pencils, eat sugary snacks, and make other choices that are not ideal.
- Gum disease: Stress releases a hormone known as cortisol that can wear down your immune system. This creates an opportunity for harmful bacteria to attack your gums. Left unchecked, the bacteria in your mouth can cause a gum infection called gingivitis.
There are so many different sources of stress. However, visiting the dentist doesn’t need to be one of them. We offer a comfortable and supportive environment as well as sedation options.
Learn About Protecting Your Smile from Stress
Dr. Michael Chung wants you to have a healthy smile through life's ups and downs. He can treat any issues you are experiencing while providing tips to help stress-proof your teeth and gums.
Call 703-319-6990 today to schedule a consultation. Softouch Dental Care serves patients from Oakton, Vienna, McLean, and other nearby areas of Virginia.