The field of medical and dental research has discovered that many conditions are exacerbated by stress. Anything from the cardiovascular system to the nervous system can be affected negatively if the body is exposed to increase and extended levels of stress. Even your oral health can be sorely affected by an overexposure to stress.
In this article, we will talk about oral conditions and disorders that are related to or caused by stress, as compiled by our dentists. After all, in order to address these problems, we must widen our understanding of what causes them, and what can be done about them.
With no further ado, here they are:
1. Bruxism or teeth grinding
One of the most common manifestations of stress is bruxism or teeth grinding. This is an outward sign of stress that causes damage in the mouth by eroding the protective enamel around teeth. While your dentist may discover another underlying cause of your bruxism, stress is the most common explanation.
Bruxism is usually accompanied by headaches and facial pain. It is also not uncommon for patients who grind their teeth to realize that they’re doing it only when it’s pointed out by a dentist.
2. Gum and periodontal disease
There are many causes of gum disease, such as the bacteria found in plaque. Left untreated, this may eventually lead to periodontal disease, which is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Stress can increase the amount of bacteria in the mouth, which will bond with oral fluids that will form plaque. Tartar will begin to form if the teeth are not regularly brushed and flossed.
A common immune response to excess mouth bacteria is for the gums to become inflamed. This, however, can create more spaces for bacteria to build up and flourish in.
3. TMJ Disorders
Temporomandibular disorder or TMJ is characterized by pain in the jaw, specifically in the temporomandibular joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. This can be caused when stress causes our mouth to clench hard. In some cases, this can result in bruxism as well.
4. Dry mouth
People who are stressed can suffer from a dry mouth, which can be a breeding ground for other forms of bacteria. Without the acidity in saliva to burn and destroy certain strains of bacteria, your mouth will quickly become a breeding ground. As we’ve mentioned before, increased bacteria in the mouth can increase the risk of periodontal disease.
5. Cold sores
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus HSV-1. It can be transmitted orally if a person comes in contact with another person who happens to have it. This is, however, not to be mistaken for genital herpes, which is a different strain.
That being said, cold sores may appear near the mouth in a person who is experiencing too much stress. Other causes include exposure to sunlight and recent dental treatments.
These are just some of the things stress can cause. There are plenty of other conditions that stress can worsen. While it is easier said than done, it is important to manage your stress levels not just for your peace of mind, but for your overall health as well.
If you’re looking for a dentist in Marietta, GA to deal with your stress-related oral conditions, send us at Kabani Dental a message. We are committed to maintaining a high standard of excellence for our patients.