5 surprising ways stress can impact your oral health
If there’s one thing most people can agree on, it’s that the past year has been a tough one. On top of the anxiety surrounding the pandemic itself, many people are dealing with the added pressure of working from home, homeschooling their children or losing their job. While stress is a normal part of life, experiencing it chronically can have a number of harmful effects on your health and well-being. If you’ve been struggling to manage your stress, keep an eye out for these oral health concerns.
1. Tooth grinding and jaw clenching
It’s not uncommon for people to clench or grind their teeth when they’re under a lot of pressure. Unfortunately, doing so has a number of negative side effects. In addition to leading to headaches and jaw pain, grinding or clenching your teeth can wear out your enamel and damage your teeth. If you tend to grind your teeth in your sleep, your dentist can provide you with a custom-made mouthguard to protect your smile.
2. Canker sores
Although they’re usually no cause for concern, canker sores can be painful. These benign mouth ulcers can appear on your tongue, at the base of your gums or along the inside of your lips or cheeks. They usually heal on their own within a week or two but if they don’t go away, or they’re extremely painful. You should make an appointment with your dentist to get them checked out.
3. Dry mouth
Not only do many people experience dry mouth when they’re feeling overwhelmed, but it’s also a side effect of certain medications used in the treatment of psychological distress. Dry mouth may seem like a minor annoyance, but it actually increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
4. Gum disease
Stress can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to gum disease. Symptoms of gum disease include swollen or receding gums, loose teeth, constant bad breath, and bleeding during flossing and brushing. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a visit to your dentist as soon as possible.
5. Tooth decay
Feeling anxious and overwhelmed on a daily basis can lead to tooth decay through conditions like dry mouth, but it can also compromise your dental health through lifestyle changes. If you’re stressed, it can be difficult to keep up with your oral hygiene routine and you may be more inclined to eat comfort foods, like sugary desserts or starchy snacks. These habits can put you at a greater risk for tooth decay.
Schedule a Visit With a SE Calgary Dentist
Forest Lawn Dental Centre in Calgary offers dental care for the whole family. If you have any concerns about your dental health, or simply want to book a checkup with Dr. Sandhu and his team, contact us today to make an appointment at our SE Calgary dentist clinic.