Modern-day living is like a busy bus station. Everything is moving so fast, compelling you to move along or get left behind. There’s the struggle to create a balance between work, family, and other things that matter to you. Stress begins to build up, and it isn’t long before it takes a toll on your oral health.
The mouth is very delicate. A little stress fires several shots at it, disrupting its normal condition. Troubling oral health leaves little or no motivation to carry on with your everyday activities. Soon, you begin to count your losses in different areas.
Let’s take a look at some ways stress affects your oral health, and what you can do about it.
1. Poor oral hygiene
Oral hygiene is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle. Unless you plan to isolate yourself from the world, interacting with people is necessary. Your oral hygiene plays a role in the outcomes of your interactions. For instance, if you have bad breath, very few people would want to stay close to you. You will be unintentionally spending more time alone.
Stress could lead you to that point where simple routines like brushing your teeth and flossing suddenly feel like herculean tasks. Of course, you know the importance of taking your oral hygiene seriously, but lack the strength to do them. It also breeds the unhealthy eating habit of craving sugary foods. Snacking on sugary foods and drinks becomes the preferred option because it’s easier than making provision for good food. The downside is, it’s only a matter of time before tooth decay creeps in due to all that sweetness.
How to handle it
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. When you feel too tired to do these, remind yourself of the dangers you are exposing yourself to. Would you rather pay a visit to the dentist to fill cavities?
Sugary foods may taste sweet, but they are going to cause you gum disease. When next you crave them, think of this repercussion. If you are not able to cut them off completely, minimize your consumption.
2. Periodontal diseases
Stress has been established to be a cause of periodontal diseases such as Gingivitis and Periodontitis. It attacks your immune system and makes it unable to produce anti-bacteria immune cells that normally resist these diseases.
Shedding light on periodontal diseases, a Dentist in Plano TX, Dr. Mark Sowell of SmilesBySowell, states that Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes inflammation of the gum. The gum margins turn red, leading to swelling and occasional bleeding. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is an oral disease that affects the bone and supporting tissues of the teeth. It causes inflammation in these areas.
How to handle it
Avoid eating hot or spicy foods as well as foods with a high level of acid content as these would worsen the inflammation. To relieve yourself of the pain, take numbing medications. These can be purchased over the counter. If the pain persists, consult a Dentist for proper medical attention.
3. Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
Do you grind or clench your teeth sometimes? This could be a result of stress. Some people experience this while sleeping at night and others experience it during the day.
Continuous grinding of your teeth affects your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is a hinge connecting your skull’s temporary bones to your jaw. But for the TMJ, you wouldn’t be able to move your jaw freely and engage in activities such as talking, yawning, and chewing. When your jaw and its surrounding muscles develop problems, it leads to temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Symptoms of this condition include severe joint pain.
Severe cases of TMD lead to teeth loss. For many, when this happens, it affects their self-esteem. There’s the need for dental implants to restore it. Replaced teeth can be as strong and natural-looking as original ones.
How to handle it
Consult your doctor about your condition. He/she may recommend that you wear a night guard before going to bed, or use something similar to prevent grinding. If you experience it during the day, practice keeping your upper and lower teeth away from each other when you aren’t chewing.
4. Oral infections
Stress dazes your immune system heavy blows – leaving it with little or no strength to resist attacks on your body. With your immune system too weak to fight, oral infections take center stage.
Oral infections are heightened when you are also suffering from Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). These infections could lead to other health complications if they are not treated promptly. Teeth partially damaged by oral infections can be restored with dental crowns.
How to handle it
Maintain good oral hygiene. Oral infections do not thrive when their host environment does not encourage them. Strengthen your immune system by eating immune-boosting foods such as citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, green tea, chicken, and shellfish, among others.
Many people dread going to the Dentist. Unbeknownst to them, that’s the best way to prevent dental problems. Diseases are detected early enough and nipped in the bud before they get worse. It’s better to make regular dental visits on a preventive basis than a rare visit in a condition that needs urgent medical attention.