Oral & Vision Health Blog

Can Stress Cause Negative Effects on Your Mouth?

Between the constant pressure-cooker environment at work and financial issues such as student loans, rent that seems more like a mortgage and high car payments, you don’t just visit the land of stress, you live there. Stress affects your health and is connected to conditions like high blood pressure, heart diseases, and obesity. It can also wreck your social life, cause angry outbursts, lack of motivation and focus, depression and more.

Bottom line, we all know that stress affects your health. But can stress mess up your mouth as well? It sure can. It increases the risk of mouth sores, teeth grinding and can lead to neglecting your dental health. Be aware of these issues and follow these tips to keep stress from wrecking your mouth. 

Mouth Sores 

Stress can trigger mouth sores. There are two kinds:

Canker Sores

The first is called a canker sore. It is shallow, shaped like a crater and typically found on your tongue, the inside of your lip, or cheek. It has a red border and a white or grayish center. There can be one or more, and they can be painful, especially when you talk or eat. Different things can cause canker sores, including certain acidic or spicy foods, a vitamin deficiency, hormones, or autoimmune disorders. Times of tension increase your chances of getting it. Fortunately, canker sores typically disappear in seven to 10 days. To ease the discomfort while you have them, avoid spicy foods and those with high acid content, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits. There are over-the-counter medicines that can provide relief but it’s important to run these by your dentist. 

Cold Sores

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus. They're filled with fluid and often show up on or around your lips. An outbreak of these annoying sores usually occurs during those times when you are going through a lot of anxiety or strain. What’s more is that the virus can spread to other people. Thankfully, cold sores often fade away in a week or so. Consult with your dentist about the best treatment options.

Teeth Grinding

Tension can trigger clenching and teeth grinding. It can happen while you’re awake or sleeping. You may not even realize you’re doing it. If you already have this habit, stress can make it worse, leading to damage in your jaw, teeth and dental restorations. One serious problem that can result if this habit is left untreated is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). This joint connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, located in front of each ear. It's what makes your jaw move up and down and side to side as you talk, eat and yawn. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly if you notice symptoms of teeth grinding. He or she may recommend mouth guards or take steps to adjust the chewing surfaces of your teeth.

Dental Hygiene Neglect

We see where stress triggers certain conditions or habits; however, it can also lead to neglecting healthy habits such as a good dental hygiene routine. While these habits may be simple, they help you maintain good oral health and prevent serious problems before they get painful and expensive. So, while life can get crazy and the only thing you want to do at bedtime is jump in and grab the covers over your head, it’s important not to stop taking care of your smile. Continue brushing and flossing two to three times daily. And get a good dental insurance plan which will make it easy to maintain your yearly professional cleanings and exams without breaking the bank.

.If you find that you are living in the land of stress, then take a look at the source of it and take some steps today to address it directly. Experts say working out on a regular basis is an effective way to manage the negative effects of the tensions that are often a part of life. But don’t forget to show your mouth some love. Visit your dentist on a regular basis so your provider can identify any issues like mouth sores and teeth grinding before they get worse.

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