How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Stress can have a significant impact on various aspects of our health, including our oral health. Here are some ways in which stress can affect your oral health:

Bruxism (Teeth grinding)

Stress is a common trigger for bruxism, which is the clenching or grinding of teeth, often unconsciously. Bruxism can lead to tooth wear, tooth fractures, jaw pain, and headaches. Over time, it can also result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, causing jaw joint pain and restricted jaw movement.

Gum disease

Stress can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections, including gum disease. Chronic stress may contribute to the development or progression of gum disease (periodontal disease). Gum disease is characterized by inflammation of the gums, bleeding, gum recession, and eventually, if left untreated, tooth loss.

Canker sores and cold sores

Stress can contribute to the development of canker sores and cold sores. These painful sores can form on the lips, tongue, or inside the mouth, causing discomfort and affecting oral health.

Dry mouth

Stress can disrupt the normal functioning of the salivary glands, leading to dry mouth (xerostomia). Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health by neutralizing acids, washing away food particles, and preventing bacterial overgrowth. A dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and oral discomfort.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

Stress is considered one of the contributing factors to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, although it is not the sole cause. TMJ disorders involve dysfunction or pain in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.

By addressing stress and prioritizing your oral health, you can minimize the negative impact of stress on your teeth and gums.

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