How Stress Affects Your SmileWednesday, August 1st, 2012, 8:37 pm
Stress affects your smile just like it affects the rest of your body. The results of excessive stress can lead to increases in blood pressure, headaches, stomach problems and even skin rashes. Is it any wonder that stress can cause mouth sores, clenching and grinding and even gum disease?
Some stress can be avoided but most cannot. If you are dealing with a difficult situation for an extended period of time here are some oral health changes to be aware of and some tips on how to manage the damage.
Mouth sores including canker sores and cold sores are common when our bodies are stressed – either emotionally or due to illness. The good news is that most of these sores go away on their own in about 10 days. You can make things a little more comfortable by using a numbing ointment that can be purchased at the drugstore. Avoid eating spicy foods and foods with a high acid content like citrus and tomatoes which can irritate the sores.
If you wake up with headaches or jaw pain you may be clenching or grinding your teeth. Most people with this condition, known as bruxism, don’t realize they are doing this. Often the grinding occurs during sleep and only when teeth are broken or a bed partner complains about the grinding is it discovered. Your dentist can create a custom oral appliance that will protect your teeth from breakage and help keep your jaw in a stable position reducing damage to the jaw joint.
Stress can increase the risk of gum disease, or if you already have gum disease it can become worse. The amounts of dental plaque are higher in stressed people and often those who are highly stressed don’t have the time or energy to keep up with their regular oral hygiene routine. Make taking care of your health in these small ways a priority. Brush twice a day and floss every day. You might want to schedule more frequent dental hygiene visits during prolonged periods of high stress to make sure your smile stays as healthy as possible.
Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center serving Toccoa, GA and surrounding areas today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next dental hygiene visit.