Too much stress affects your whole body, including your mouth, teeth, and gums. Stress can have obvious physical manifestations, literally cropping up when you’re suffering from strong anxieties. Think mouth sores, such as canker sores and cold sores, or event aggravated gum disease. Stress can also nurture bad habits that spell bad news for your oral health, like clenching or grinding your teeth and chewing your nails, ice, pencils or other objects. Not to mention, good lifestyle choices like a healthy diet and taking regular care of your teeth may be the first thing to go out the window when you have too much on your plate.
You can prevent these oral health problems, if you know what to do. Here are a few strategies to tackle these common stress-induced issues. Because oral health is not just about brushing your teeth, but also nurturing overall wellbeing.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Being under extreme stress may affect your mood and cause you to skip brushing, flossing, and rinsing. When you’re stressed, you may also develop unhealthy eating habits, such as snacking on large amounts of sugary foods or drinks. This can put you at risk for tooth decay and other problems.
What to do: Just reminding yourself of the importance of hygiene and healthy eating may help. A regular exercise routine can relieve stress, rev up your energy levels, and encourage you to eat healthier. It may even make you more likely to tend to your mouth.
Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that often appear on or around the lips, but can also crop up under the nose or around the chin.
What to do: Talk to your doctor about medical options, such as ointments and oral meds, which can alleviate sores. But emotional upsets can trigger an outbreak, so it’s important to manage stress, which again can be soothed by exercise, or even daily meditation.
Stress may make you clench and grind your teeth — during the day or at night, and often subconsciously. Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism.
What to do: See your doctor and ask what can be done for the clenching and grinding. Your dentist may recommend a night guard, worn as you sleep, or another appliance to help you stop or minimize the actions.
Dr. Sharon Robinson DDS is located at 6738 W. Sunrise Blvd. Ste 105, Plantation, FL 33313 and can be reached at 954-792-1857