This month is Stress Awareness Month, a yearly campaign that raises awareness of the causes and cures of stress. We all know that too much stress can cause havoc on our health and well-being and one of the key messages for this year’s campaign is self-care.
Did you know that stress can have a direct impact on your gums, mouth, and teeth? If you want to protect your oral health, managing your stress levels is crucial.
Here, you’ll discover what you can do to protect your teeth from stress.
How can stress impact your teeth?
When you are stressed, the body releases hormones such as cortisol. While useful in fight or flight situations, these stress hormones can cause changes within the immune system. In turn, this can lead to a variety of issues with your health, including your teeth. Let’s take a look at some of the most common teeth and gum issues that can be triggered by stress…
While experts aren’t sure exactly what causes canker sores (aphthous ulcers), it is thought to be related to issues with the immune system and stress. Small white or grey spots develop on the inside of the mouth under the tongue, inside your cheek or lip or at the base of gums, typically in small groups or pairs. They tend to have a red border and they can be painful to the touch.
If you develop canker sores, it is a good idea to avoid high-acid food and drink. You should find they disappear by themselves within 10 days. However, if you get them frequently, you may benefit from a steroid cream provided by your dentist.
Teeth grinding is a common side effect of stress, and you may be doing it without even realising. Not only does this habit wear down the teeth over time, but it can also lead to issues with the TMJ joint that is located where the lower jaw and the skull meet. Most patients also find their teeth grinding is worse at night.
If you have developed this habit, your dentist may recommend wearing a night guard. When you aren’t eating, you can also try and ensure your teeth are slightly apart.
Issues with dental hygiene
When you are stressed, you may skip brushing your teeth completely. Mood can greatly impact how well we take care of ourselves. If you are going through a stressful time, it’s important to try and look after the mind and body as you normally would. If you don’t, you could develop a range of issues such as gum disease, and cavities.
Stress can also cause you to eat high-sugar, fast foods. This again can have a negative impact on your oral health.
How to protect your teeth from stress
The most effective way to protect your teeth and gums from stress is to focus on reducing the amount of stress in your life. However, you can also keep on top of your oral health with regular visits to the dentist as well as the hygienist for a professional clean.
We can help you with an affordable monthly treatment plan to cover all your family’s essential dental needs. Our Denplan treatment plans start from £22.50 a month and include 2 check-ups and hygiene visits as well as discounts on other treatments.