How Stress Affects Your Oral Health
Stress is something that most of us will experience in varying degrees throughout our lives, and although it is very normal, it’s also something which requires our care and attention. As awareness around the physical and mental consequences increases, it’s important to also think about the ways that stress can affect our oral hygiene so that we can take a better look at effective management and solutions. Don’t let stress take over your life: read on to find out what issues stress can cause in your mouth, and how to tackle these for reduced stress and happier teeth and gums!
Poor Oral Hygiene
People suffering from stress often forget to maintain their daily routines, not only in oral hygiene but also sleep, exercise, and diet. Small things can make a big difference, so try to maintain your daily dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing, especially if you find yourself snacking more regularly. Keeping a good portable toothbrush on you can also help, as if you absentmindedly forget to brush before you leave the house you can whip out your Sonisk Pulse and keep your routine going wherever you are!
Did you know that stress reduces saliva production in the mouth? Saliva is needed in the mouth to wash out bacteria and keep the tongue and gums moist, which reduces gum disease and plaque buildup. If you notice that dry mouth is one of your stress symptoms, make sure to stay well hydrated by sipping on water or your favourite sugar free drink throughout the day to help your mouth to produce that all-important saliva!
Chronic stress can cause tension throughout the body, including your jaws. Clenched jaws create muscle tension which can cause discomfort and pain in the jawline and ears. While it’s important to work on the root cause of your stress, there are also ways to manage clenched jaws in the meantime to ease your discomfort. Try gently massaging your jawline and behind your ears to soothe tension, or take an anti-inflammatory to help relax your jaw muscles!
The physical tension caused by stress can also cause you to grind your teeth, especially during sleep. This is bad for your teeth because it wears down the protective enamel on their surface, and can cause cracks or chips from excessive clenching, which then cause higher sensitivity in the mouth overall. If you suffer from chronic stress, consider investing in a good mouthguard to use when you sleep so that your teeth will be protected!
If your stress is chronic and the symptoms in your mouth are of concern, speak to your dentist or dental health practitioner, who will be able to give you individual guidance on how best to alleviate your symptoms, whether that be a night guard for teeth grinding or more frequent cleaning for those who use sugary snacks as a coping mechanism!