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How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

Sometimes, the state of our oral health can be directly influenced by the state of our overall health. You may find it surprising, but this includes both our mental and physical health. When we are mentally and physically balanced, the teeth and gums tend to reflect good health. When stress plays a role, the evidence can be seen in your smile.

Changes in the feel, function, or appearance of your smile will warrant a discussion with your dentist. Stress can impact your smile in a variety of ways and seeking professional advice as soon as possible can significantly minimize the damage.

Stress can impact your smile in a variety of ways and seeking professional advice as soon as possible can significantly minimize the damage.

For most patients, clenching and grinding the teeth is a habit that intensifies during times of stress. Commonly referred to as TMJ disorder, this can lead to headaches and joint pain. Unfortunately, clenching and grinding can also lead to a number of other serious dental conditions, such as:

  • worn enamel
  • receding gums
  • bone loss
  • tooth sensitivity
  • damaged dental work

TMJ disorder and the related symptoms can vary for every patient. The symptoms may be chronic or they may occur occasionally as your stress level increases. Also, patients may experience one symptom or many, depending upon the severity of the disorder. Even the slightest symptoms should not be ignored, since the damage that is likely to occur could be irreversible.

Stress can also impede your body’s ability to fight off an infection. Therefore, when the body is stressed, plaque bacteria can trigger inflammation that progresses rapidly over a short period of time. This condition is known as gingivitis, and can lead to advanced periodontal disease without proper care.

It is virtually impossible to eliminate all sources if stress from our lives. Fortunately, it is possible to manage the symptoms and prevent unnecessary damage. Seeking early treatment can also make the recommended solution more comfortable and less costly.

To find out more about how stress is impacting your oral health, contact the office of Drs. Sender and Russ for a consultation today.

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