How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

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How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

Stress…how might it affect my oral health?

We are all busy trying to juggle home and work commitments and we are knowledgeable about how this affects our bodies (high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue etc) but how might it affect our mouths?

Well, you might not even be aware you are doing it but clenching your teeth or grinding your teeth (also known as Bruxism) can be a symptom of stress – you may notice your cheek muscles or jaws are painful or your partner may complain that you are grating and grinding your teeth whilst you sleep. This might not cause an immediate problem but long-term can lead to headaches or even damage to your teeth and enamel. Your dentist may suggest a night guard to wear in bed. Nothing terrible – just a simple, custom-made clear liner which helps protect your valuable gnashers!

Sores or ulcers can sometimes develop on the soft tissues in your mouth when you are stressed – they are generally harmless but can be quite painful. The dentist or therapist may suggest mouthwash or topical treatments. If in doubt ask us!

Biting the inside of your cheek is a sign of stress or, more accurately, a habit developed to cope with stress. Try to identify your stress triggers so that you can attempt to avoid them. Gentle exercise before bed (such as a short walk) can improve sleep quality and reduce stress. It also helps reduce teeth grinding too! Occasionally for severe cases acupuncture or hypnosis treatments are beneficial.

Medications for stress and/or depression can lead to a dry mouth. Reduced saliva means reduced protection and therefore you are more likely to get infections, tooth decay or gum disease. Regular visits to your dentist and hygienist will help to combat this and they can give you samples of dry mouth treatments if required.

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Of course, when you are under a great deal of stress then normal routines can go out of the window! Maintaining your at-home dental regime can reduce the likelihood of decay so try to put aside just a couple of minutes, morning and night if you possibly can. Tie in your nightly teeth brushing with a soak in a scented bath is what we would recommend!

To find out more about Oral Health have a at our dental treatments or ask any of our friendly team. If you need any more information give us a call at 01406 364600 – we are here to help and advise you!

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