Stress through difficult times can have adverse effects on your teeth and oral health, here's how
26 April 2020| Last updated on 28 April 2020
Suffering with tooth pain or worse? It could be down to your stress levels.
We've all heard of work-life-balance, and how stress can affect our mental and physical health. But did you know that work-related or daily stress can in fact affect our oral health?
ConfiDent Dubai Palm Jumeirah, a Dubai-based dentist, shares that a strong correlation has been proven between constant high stress levels and our oral health.
So much so, that their team have treated a lot of patients that work in high-pressure work environments where they don't sleep or rest enough.
An uneven work-life balance can lead to anxiety and stress. In extreme cases, this can trigger jaw clenching, grinding teeth, and even soft tissue problems such as receding gums for instance.
But why do people start clenching and grinding when facing a stressful situation? ConfiDent explain.
How stress affects your teeth
Our natural body response to a tensioned situation is accompanied by the release of stress hormones. As soon as these hormones go into the bloodstream, they control all the body functions, including facial and jaw muscles.
If you are stressed for a long period of time, your face and jaw muscles can remain contracted or partially contracted. This leads to grinding, clenching and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD).
Effects and symptoms of continuous emotional strain that we’ve seen in a number of our patients are:
- Canker sores
- Temporomandibular joints disorder (TMJD)
- Soft tissue problems
- Acid reflux
- Teeth clenching and grinding that leads often to broken or chipped teeth
Canker sores are a result of high levels of stress and low immunity system.
They appear as small spots with a white or greyish base and red borders in the oral cavity. Sores have to complete a cycle of 7 to 10 days to disappear completely. Your dentist can advise special remedies and instructions, as they can get quite uncomfortable and painful.
But you don’t have to wait that long to get rid of the pain, we at ConfiDent can help with immediate pain relief using laser technology.
Over brushing, applying too hard pressure or using a wrong tooth brush can cause severe damage to your teeth and your gums.
If you notice receding gums, bleeding or sore soft tissues, we strongly advice you to see our specialist in order to avoid a progressive clinical situation with possible involvement of bone loss around your teeth.
Learn how to get rid of such bad habits when speaking to our dental hygienist during an Oral Hygiene Instructions session.
Acid reflux is another common effect caused by stress, it usually involves bad eating habits. Did you ever get that feeling of acidic burning up your throat?
That is acid reflux which can cause damage to your teeth and which gets often unnoticed as the first signs of these so called ‘erosions’ (loss of tooth surface/enamel) are seen from the back side of your teeth only. Your dentist will detect these erosions straight away and can advice how to prevent further damage. Besides the erosions acidity has also the tendency to cause bad breath.
All above can be avoided by maintaining a healthy and balanced state of mind; exercising, eat healthy and spend time with your family and pets.
To ease existing irritation, avoid eating spicy, hot foods or anything with a high acid content, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits. Try to cut back on smoking and replace the coffee with certain teas instead.
If any severe clenching or canker sores occur, the ConfiDent Team is there to help you with a professional checkup and recommendations.