Anxiety and stress may be damaging your dental health, but probably not how you think it is. Most of us know someone who refuses to visit the dentist due to dental phobia and fear. Lost dental hygiene visits can cause damage related to neglect, however, physical stress can actually affect the health and quality of your teeth as well.
Bruxism – Bruxism, commonly referred to as teeth grinding, affects many Americans during both waking and sleeping hours, and is often related to stress. Bruxism can contribute to tooth fractures, enamel loss, ground down teeth, and, in severe cases, tooth loss and cavities due to lack of enamel or root damage. People associate tooth grinding with sleeping, but chewing on hard objects or clenching your teeth can also be linked to Bruxism.
TMJ – TMJ is frequently linked to Bruxism, and is caused by tensing the jaw and causing strain in the muscles in the jaw and neck. TMJ manifests itself through joint pain, inability to open your mouth, or popping when the mouth is opened.
Gum Disease – Patients who experienced high levels of stress over the previous year showed more aggressive levels of gum disease. Stress factors such as a spouse, children, finances, work, or lack of companionship can impact gum disease levels.
Higher Risk for Cavities – Anxiety can cause a dry mouth due to mouth breathing, acid backup, dehydration, or internal fluid changes associated with severe anxiety. The link between anxiety, dry mouth, and cavities is strong, but can be helped with special mouthwashes.
Canker Sores – Canker sores pop up due to over-aggressively brushing your teeth, biting your cheek, or just through stress alone.
Managing stress can help prevent dental damage, which can keep your teeth healthy between dental visits. If your teeth have suffered from stress, Maple Avenue Family Dentistry can help! Contact our office today at 401-237-4324.