COVID-19 Policy/Procedures – We are OPEN.
Please click here to see our latest COVID policies.

alarm-ringing ambulance angle2 archive arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up at-sign baby baby2 bag binoculars book-open book2 bookmark2 bubble calendar-check calendar-empty camera2 cart chart-growth check chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up circle-minus circle city clapboard-play clipboard-empty clipboard-text clock clock2 cloud-download cloud-windy cloud clubs cog cross crown cube youtube diamond4 diamonds drop-crossed drop2 earth ellipsis envelope-open envelope exclamation eye-dropper eye facebook file-empty fire flag2 flare foursquare gift glasses google graph hammer-wrench heart-pulse heart home instagram joystick lamp layers lifebuoy link linkedin list lock magic-wand map-marker map medal-empty menu microscope minus moon mustache-glasses paper-plane paperclip papers pen pencil pie-chart pinterest plus-circle plus power pushpin question rain reading receipt recycle reminder sad shield-check smartphone smile soccer spades speed-medium spotlights star-empty star-half star store sun-glasses sun tag telephone thumbs-down thumbs-up tree tumblr twitter user users wheelchair write yelp youtube

Stress and Our Smiles

Mental health and physical health are tied together in ways we don’t always expect.

That even extends to the relationship between oral health and stress. Fortunately, there are a lot of tools we can use to protect our smiles from the effects of stress.

Stress Could Be Behind a Teeth-Grinding Habit

Habitual teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching are called bruxism. Clenching and grinding are natural responses to frustration and stress for many people. The typical signs of bruxism include a sore jaw and, eventually, flattened chewing surfaces of the teeth. Bruxism brings with it significant oral health risks, and the people with this habit might not even notice they’re doing it — particularly for those who grind their teeth in their sleep.

Stress Can Compound the Symptoms of TMD

Another oral health condition stress can contribute to is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a disorder of the muscles, joint, and nerves in the jaw that is associated with chronic facial pain. Stress is believed to be one of the factors leading to TMD, which has symptoms like frequent headaches, pain in the jaw joint, and popping and clicking of the jaw.

Stress Weakens the Immune System

A brief period of stress is something the body can deal with pretty well, but chronic stress puts a major strain on the immune system, making it harder to fight off oral health issues like infections, canker sores, dry mouth, gum disease, and cavities.

Make Oral Health and Hygiene a Priority

Considering all the negative effects stress can have, good oral hygiene habits become particularly important. That includes brushing for two minutes twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and cutting back on sugar intake. Giving your teeth and gums better tools to fight off oral health problems might not be a solution to the stress in your life, but it can help you feel a little better and more in control.

The Dentist Is Your Best Ally

Dental health experts such as our team want to help our patients stress less when it comes to their oral health. We know that just the idea of going to the dentist can be stressful for a lot of people, but we’re here to help. We encourage you to keep up with your regular dental checkups and keep a prevention mindset when it comes to oral health issues rather than waiting until an issue gets much worse to finally get treatment.

We want to help our patients smile easier AND healthier!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.