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How Stress Affects Your Pearly Whites

Tired woman in the office

Does work at the office or your home life have you excessively stressed? Your Cooper Family Dentist can tell. Believe it or not, during regular routine oral exams your dentist is able to indicate whether or not your oral health shows signs of stress.

Things like bruxism (grinding of the teeth), orofacial pain, temporomandibular disorders (TMD), gum disease and even mouth sores are all relevant indications of excessive stress.

In many cases, it is difficult for patients to know when they are experiencing excessive stress and how it is affecting their health (including oral health) until they start experiencing stress related complications. In order to prevent stress related oral health complications it is important that you make routine dental check-ups a part of your oral hygiene regime.

Stress Related Oral Problems

Bruxism, orofacial pain, TMJ, gum disease and canker sores are all common stress related oral problems.

Bruxism is the technical term that is used to describe frequent clenching of the jaw and/or grinding of the teeth. Bruxism often times results in orofacial pain due to the excessive pressure on the jaw. Anger, frustration and nervous tension all generally cause people to grind their teeth and/or clench their jaw.

TMD (temporomandibular disorders) is used to reference a variety of conditions that affect the jaw joints and associated muscles of the neck and jaw. Stress can aggravate TMD because of the bruxism that is associated with persons dealing with excessive stress.

Researchers claim that the likelihood of gum disease increases with the amount of stress that a person is dealing with.

Canker sores are mouth ulcers that are generally triggered by a trauma to the gum or tongue tissue. Stress is also said to trigger the onset of canker sores, as biting of the cheek (a common nervous habit) can also lead to canker sores.

Maintaining Your Oral Health During Stressful Times

The best way to fight against the negative effects that stress can have on your body including your oral health, is to remove the source of the stress from your life. Where this is not always possible (say in the case of financial distress), you can find ways to help you cope with the stress. Exercise, meditation, massage and even counseling may all help you to combat the stresses in your life that can lead to oral complications.

If you are experiencing oral health issues as a result of the stress in your life, call us today to discuss ways that your Cooper Family dentist can help!

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