Stress and the impact on dental health
It seems that we’re seeing more and more patients with dental problems that are, in part at least, a result of increased stress. Each day now seems full of pressures from many aspects of life, be that from work or school life, family and relationships or financial challenges.
Often there’s no easy answer to managing stress but it’s important that we are aware of the impact it can have on our well being.
From a purely dental point of view, a high and/or sustained level of stress can lead to:
- Tooth clenching or grinding: This is surprisingly common and can often lead to tooth wear, gum recession, sensitivity, fractured teeth, headaches and jaw pain.
- Poor diet: When we are stressed our approach to healthy living can be affected which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gum problems.
- Poor oral hygiene: If we are stressed, one of the areas that can suffer is oral care, leading to gum problems.
- Dry mouth: In certain cases, stress is managed with medication, which in turn can lead to a dry mouth, which means higher risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
- It is becoming clear that stress can lower our immune system’s ability to fight infection, rendering us more vulnerable to general health problems and from a dental point of view, to gum disease.
If you’re unsure, speak to your dentist. They can provide more information on any of the above points and advise you on ways to provide better protection against the damaging effects of stress-related dental problems.