Stress and Your Oral Health
Stress has been linked to anxiety, depression and heart disease. Stress can also affect your oral health. Our North Hollywood dentist recommends that patients who are experiencing severe or chronic stress understand the risks so that they can take steps to protect their dental health.
Bruxism may be the best-known dental condition linked to stress. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, may seem like a fairly harmless habit, but it can crack or fracture teeth, damage your jaw, lead to chronic headaches or neck aches and increase your risk of TMJ disorders. If you suffer from bruxism, our dentist may recommend that you wear a night guard or splint to protect your teeth and jaw from further damage. If misaligned teeth or other physical issues are contributing to your bruxism, a treatment plan may be designed to correct those issues and get you back on the road to good dental health.
Mouth sores can also be triggered by stress. Physical stress can trigger an outbreak of cold sores while emotional stress can lead to canker sores. Lichen planus is another type of stress-related mouth sore that appears as an ulcer or white patch inside the mouth. Mouth sores generally have few serious side effects, but they are generally painful, and, in the case of cold sores, contagious.
Gum disease may be one of the more serious conditions linked to stress. Although actually caused by plaque and oral bacteria, gum disease can be worsened by the presence of stress, which can inhibit immune response. When you are suffering from stress, your body is simply less able to fight off infections, which means that a mild case of gingivitis may quickly progress to a more serious case of periodontitis.
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