Stress can have a profoundly negative effect on your health. Studies have linked stress to a number of serious health issues including depression, obesity, heart disease and more. However, did you know that living with chronic stress also has a negative effect on your dental health?
Living with too much stress affects your whole body, including your mouth, teeth and gums. Too much stress can cause mouth sores (canker sores) and can also make you more susceptible to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the tissues supporting your teeth. It is currently one of the most common causes of tooth loss in American adults. Being stressed out can also cause you to clench or grind your teeth. This can lead to a variety of problems including problems with the Temporomandibular (jaw) Joint (TMJ). These types of problems are referred to as TMJ Disorders.
Once of the best things you can do to protect your dental health against problems caused by too much stress is to find ways to manage and/or reduce your stress. This can include exercise, meditation or even just spending time walking your dog. Talking to a mental health professional about the underlying reasons for your stress is also a good idea.
If you are under a lot of stress, it is especially important for you to take good care of your oral health. This includes visiting a dentist regularly, brushing and flossing thoroughly everyday, and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. If you notice changes with your dental health, specifically red, swollen or bleeding gums, or sores in your mouth, it is important to make your dentist aware immediately. That way, your dentist can treat the problem before it has the chance to progress into a more serious and complicated problem and to threaten your long-term dental health.