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How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

Living in the free world is certainly a blessing, but not totally without burden. Almost a century ago, there was the Great Depression followed by several wars and times of uncertainty. But there has not been a time that many would be able to remember where so many people have been impacted so personally as in recent years. Down economy, unemployment, and daily concern about how to care for the family has forced many to bypass things that may have been taken for granted at one time, such as seeing the dentist for preventive care.

Stress can impact overall health, but the teeth and gums may be where stress manifests itself first. Emotions like worry or stress are not easily forgotten just because it is time to sleep. It is not unusual for someone to subconsciously clench and grind their teeth throughout the night.

A partner may be the first one to recognize teeth grinding, but other identifiers include awakening with a sore jaw, neck, ear or head. Many people tend to ignore these minor aches and accept them as normal. But the act of bruxism during sleep can eventually progress to subconsciously clenching and grinding throughout the day. 

Stress can impact overall health, but the teeth and gums may be where stress manifests itself first. 

The consequences of this habit can be costly and permanent. Enamel can literally be ground down, creating a malocclusion. A tooth can be cracked or broken, or a tooth repaired previously with a filling can sustain damage that can become infected. If this happens, root canal therapy or losing the tooth may be the only options.

In trying times, it is easy to put off those trips to the dentist twice per year for hygiene and a thorough dental exam. But if dental problems are diagnosed before reaching this serious stage, the cost, discomfort and inconvenience may be eliminated.

In an attempt to escape from daily problems some turn to habits like smoking, excessive alcohol or illicit drugs as a means to provide temporary relief, but these very things may contribute to poor oral health. Gum disease, mouth sores, and tooth loss are evident in patients that engage in these habits much more often than those who don’t. In addition, these habits will not resolve the clenching and grinding.

Daily stressors will likely never go away completely, but preventive dental care is one option to possibly avert a costly and inconvenient consequence. If stress is starting to affect your smile, contact our skilled team at Ora Dental Studio. Call us at 312-491-9474 to schedule an appointment today.