If you are like most Americans, you lead a busy and stressful life. Whether you are a student, young parent or working professional, the day-to-day stress can start to take its toil on your health. While you may be familiar with how stress affects your heart health and intestinal health, it can also compromise your oral health.
High levels of stress are often associated with a lowered immune system. In such cases, your body’s ability to fight off infection is impaired. When it comes to your mouth, this can mean a greater vulnerability to gum disease. Gum disease is a chronic infection of the gums and supporting tissues of your teeth. If you let stress get the best of you and neglect to seek treatment for gum disease, you can end up with serious dental problems, including tooth loss.
Another sneaky way that stress affects your oral health is when it is also disrupting your digestive health. Many people suffer from more frequent episodes of acid reflux when they are under stress. Acid reflux can wreak havoc on your smile and damage the enamel on your teeth if left untreated.
What do you do when you are stressed? You probably engage in a specific habit, sometimes without even knowing it, when you are feeling under pressure. Unfortunately, teeth grinding and clenching is a common stress-response habit. This condition is called Bruxism and you may do it during the day or while you sleep. Clenching and grinding your teeth on a regular basis can not only wear down your teeth but also cause Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders. Common signs of TMJ disorders are chronic morning headaches, jaw pain, ear pain, and more. If you grind your teeth (or you’ve been told you do), ask us about a custom mouthguard to protect your smile while you sleep.
At Salt Run Dental, we can certainly treat your gum disease, fit you for a custom mouthguard and address other oral health problems you are experiencing. However, to truly protect your smile, it is best to conquer stress at its source. If stress is threating your smile and your overall health, find healthy ways to reduce it. In the midst of your demanding schedule, make time for stress-reducers like exercise, meditation and even laughter. Eliminating extra stress from your life can reward you with a healthier, more confident smile.