Dental technology has moved on significantly over the past few years and it’s amazing what can be done to restore or replace teeth. In spite of all these advances, dental problems related to stress still present dentists with a challenge.
Stress and Its Effect on Oral and General Health
Stress is already known to be a contributing factor towards numerous health problems including autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases and the connection to dental problems is nothing new as it has been well known for hundreds or even thousands of years. Common problems related to stress includes mouth ulcers, teeth grinding or bruxism and periodontal or gum disease. Being under stress can worsen existing gum disease, and can lead to inattention towards oral hygiene and an increase in unhealthy eating habits.
Mouth ulcers can be triggered by a stressful event or by skin abrasion, sunburn or fever. They can appear on the inside of the mouth and look almost white or greyish with a red border. Nobody’s quite sure what causes mouth ulcers but it’s thought it could be due to the immune system being impaired, or could be viral or due to bacteria. In addition to stress, it’s thought being overtired and having allergies can also increase the risk of getting them. Most mouth ulcers disappear without any medical intervention, but it is possible to buy over-the-counter products that will help reduce the pain and irritation. It also helps to avoid spicy foods or highly acidic foods. If you have a mouth ulcer that fails to heal then make an appointment to see one of our dentist in Leeds just in case it’s due to some other problem.
Teeth grinding can do a loss of damage to the teeth and gums and is often subconscious. It usually occurs during the night and one of the main symptoms is waking up with a headache or a sore and aching jaw. If you’re already prone to teeth grinding or bruxism then stress may well make it worse. It’s really important to seek treatment from Leeds City Dentalcare as this problem can damage your temporomandibular joint which is a joint responsible for moving the jaw. It’s likely that Dr David Brown will recommend wearing a night guard to help protect your teeth and gums. A night guard works by putting your jaw into a position where the teeth are unable to grind against each other. Bruxism is often considered to be a learned behaviour, so anything that interrupts this behaviour can sometimes be enough to bring it to a halt. However if it is stress related then you’ll need to take action to try to reduce your stress levels.
Inattention to oral hygiene is often a problem during stressful times, as it’s all too easy to ignore the need to brush and floss every day. However failing to do so can worsen any existing dental problems and can lead to new ones developing, in particular gum disease and dental decay.
Poor diet is often a problem during stressful times as it easier to grab something that high in fat and sugar but which takes minimal time to prepare. A diet that’s low on nutrients will affect oral health as your body will have a reduced ability to heal the gum tissues.
Although it may be difficult to concentrate on oral hygiene when under stress, it is vitally important, and having a healthy mouth positively impacts general health and makes it easier to deal with stressful situations.