Know how stress leads to teeth problems

We often tend to ignore our oral health, which leads to affecting our teeth, gums, and jaws. But did you know that stress can have an adverse impact on your oral health? In fact, oral health can reveal the severity of your stress levels, anxiety, mood, and the presence of chronic eating habits. According to a study, people living with severe mental health disorders are 2.8 times more likely to have lost their teeth than people in the general population. Therefore, it is vital to know stress-related oral health problems in order to be able to tackle them effectively.

Here’s a lowdown on major stress-related teeth problems:

1. Stress increases the risk of gum disease

Poor mental health may deplete your immune system. It allows the harmful bacteria present in your mouth to attack the gums, which can cause gingivitis, a gum infection. Though this oral infection is easy to manage at first, if it remains untreated over a period of time, it can lead to serious oral health conditions. Therefore, while you are under stress, it is crucial to take extra care of your gums. Floss your teeth regularly, and maintain a solid dental hygiene routine. If in case your gums bleed while flossing, visit a dentist immediately.

Make sure to keep your gums healthy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Teeth grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition associated with stress or anxiety, and most often occurs during sleep. It can be frequent and severe, leading to headaches, damaged teeth, enamel, jaw disorder, and other oral health problems. Chances are that you may not be aware that you are grinding your teeth in sleep, however, if you notice chipped or loose teeth, tooth sensitivity, tongue indentations, flattened tips or sharp edges, you may want to consult your dentist to get the care you need.

Also, read: Do you have crooked teeth? Here’s why you should visit an orthodontist for treatment

3. Dry mouth

Stress, anxiety and depression often lead to decreased saliva production in the mouth. As your mouth’s first line of defense against bacteria is saliva, without it, the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and oral infection increases. Drink plenty of water, and use non-alcoholic mouthwash to tackle this oral condition. If you are dealing with dry mouth for extended periods, consult a dentist to know the causes, solutions, and preventive measures.

4. Mouth sores

Canker sores or mouth ulcers often crop up during times of stress when your body’s ability to fight back diseases and infections is weak. These can be very painful, and even build up to a point where it gets difficult for you to speak and chew food. Mouth sores can also be triggered by over brushing, biting your cheek, acidic foods, and smoking. Though most canker sores go away in about a week, if you are experiencing them frequently, consult a dentist.

oral health and dementia
Oral health and mental well-being are intertwined, according to this research. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Ways to curb stress-related teeth problems

Being under stress may affect your mood and cause you to skip brushing, flossing, and rinsing. You may end up picking some unhealthy eating habits too, causing more trouble to your oral hygiene.

Therefore, the key to maintaining good oral health is to:

  1. Clean your teeth and eat healthily
  2. Brush at least two times a day, floss and use an antibacterial mouth rinse
  3. Ease your stress to improve your dental health
  4. Practice mindfulness and stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing, as they are not only good for your mind but also your gums and teeth as well.
  5. Choose a toothbrush that can be easily used, be it electronic or manual.
  6. Always go for fluoridated toothpaste
  7. Visit your dentist every three months.
  8. Avoid consumption of sugar-based or sticky foods before bedtime.

Lastly, always remember that maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a life-long commitment, and nothing should come in between that.