You have probably heard about the different ways stress can affect your life. But did you know that stress and oral health are intrinsically linked? It’s true! We refer to this term as oral anxiety.
Wait, What is Oral Anxiety?
Oral anxiety refers to how stress takes a toll on your teeth, jaw, gums, and overall oral health. You might not even realize that these elements are affecting you until there’s a serious problem!
The Top Four Ways Stress Affects Your Teeth
Saliva helps clean teeth, reducing the risk of cavities. But too much stress can actually signal to your salivary glands that they need to pull the reins and produce less saliva. This isn’t good news for you, or your teeth.
How can you combat it? Discuss your observations with a dentist. We can diagnose what’s going on and recommend helpful treatments.
When we experience stress, our bodies tend to tighten up, in an attempt to protect us. Unfortunately, most times, this tightening is the antithesis of helpful. Too much stress and tension can lead to a clenched jaw which can lead to TMJ.
How can you combat it? Work to gently release your jaw throughout the day. When you notice you’re carrying tension, take a nice, deep breath. A Dakota Dental dentist will be able to see if you’re dealing with a larger issue.
You may have noticed your teeth grinding during an intense Monday morning meeting. This motion can wear down tooth enamel and cause toothaches.
How can you combat it? Start to pay special attention to when your teeth are grinding. When you feel it happening, gently open your jaw – leaving a little bit of space between your top and bottom teeth. If you find yourself waking up in the morning with a sore jaw, consider wearing a nightguard to protect your teeth at night.
Cavities (Due to an Increase in Sugar Intake)
We’ve all been there! After a hectic day, we reach for the donuts or ice cream. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a little sugar. But remember, sugar is a significant contributor to cavities so moderation is key!
How can you combat it? After you enjoy a bit of sugar, have a piece of fresh fruit, brush your teeth, or rinse your mouth out with water.
Can Stress Cause Tooth Decay?
The short answer—yes. If the above conditions aren’t treated, they can lead to tooth decay over time. But there are things you can incorporate into your daily life to help prevent that from happening:
The Biggest Ways to Fight Back
You guessed it! Double down on your daily oral hygiene habits. That means brushing twice a day and flossing once.
Read how to pick out the right toothbrush and toothpaste for you, as well as how to create a maintainable flossing routine!
Do These Conditions Sound Familiar? Dakota Dental Can Help!
If you feel like you’re dealing with one (or more) of these dental issues, we are here to help. With a closer look, we’ll be able to diagnose what is going on and recommend treatment.
There are ways to help eliminate the effects of stress and oral health. Take a look at our services, send us any questions you have, and then schedule an appointment. We’ll see you soon!