The effects of stress on our mental health are well known. It is equally crucial to explore how stress can manifest within the oral cavity, leading to a range of dental problems.
During stress, the body undergoes a series of hormonal changes. Hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, insulin, and thyroid hormone increase as a part of the fight or flight response. An increase in hormones helps in dealing with stress by regulating blood sugar levels and the immune system’s response to inflammation.
But constant increases in hormones can have a negative impact on overall health and dental health as well. Many studies concluded that the rate of dental decay is higher among the stressed population compared to the general population.
How stress aggravates dental discomfort?
When you are aware of potential interactions between cortisol, stress, and dental health, you can safeguard your overall oral health. Stress can cause:
Canker sores or aphthous ulcers, are painful ulcers on the corner of the mouth. This is caused by changes in the immune system caused by stress hormones.
Treatment: Visit a dental clinic near you. The best dentist will rule out the causative agent and prescribe a numbing gel to reduce ulcer pain.
Xerostomia is also called dry mouth. Saliva in the mouth helps with various defense mechanisms. Lack of saliva increases food debris and increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Treatment: Drink plenty of water and consult a dentist to optimize the issue of dry mouth.
Gum diseases and periodontitis:
Xerostomia causes gingivitis (gum disease), and if not treated, it can lead to periodontitis (inflammation of the tissue around the teeth).
Treatment: The best treatment for gingivitis and periodontitis is regular dentist visits. Dental cleaning and root planning can alleviate the symptoms of gum disease.
Bruxism is involuntary teeth grinding at times of stress. Usually, this is encountered during sleep. The clenching of teeth can cause headaches, ear pain, TMJ pain, and abnormal tooth wear.
Treatment: A dentist near you will suggest a customised mouth guard to be worn at night.
Bruxism causes excessive force on both the teeth and the joint, known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can develop TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders result in jaw pain and limited jaw movement.
Stress can lead to nail biting, chewing on objects, or consuming sugary foods or hard drinks, all of which have a negative impact on oral health.
Stressful people usually neglect routine brushing and flossing, resulting in bad breath, tooth decay, or gum disease.
Breaking the cycle: managing stress and dental discomfort
Some ways to manage stress are:
- Yoga/ exercise
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a balanced diet
- Spare some time for hobbies
If your stress is causing dental discomfort, consult a dentist near you. If you live around Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon, Danville, consult Dr. Alpa Dalal, a renowned dentist in the area.
Dr. Dalal is an exceptional dentist who brings a unique blend of expertise and compassion to her practice. She can provide customized solutions to stress-related dental issues.
Experience the difference that compassionate and skilled dental care can make in your life. Book an appointment with Dr. Dalal and take the first step to a healthier smile.