We all cope with stress differently, but when we experience this response over a long period of time, it can lead to other serious health issues. This is what’s known as “chronic stress,” and it affects more than just your mental health. It can also weaken your immune system, imbalance your hormones, disrupt your sleeping patterns, increase weight gain, and cause muscle fatigue, among other symptoms.
Can Stress Really Cause a Toothache?
Stress can trigger unhealthy behaviors that directly impact our oral health. For example, you may notice that when you need to cope during a stressful situation, you bite your nails or grind your teeth.
Grinding your teeth typically happens at night, but patients can unknowingly practice this bad habit while awake, too (Colgate). Common signs that you’re grinding your teeth include:
- Sore Teeth
- Broken or Cracked Tooth
- Jaw Discomfort
- Weak or Worn Teeth
Teeth grinding may also be a symptom of another health issue or result of poor teeth alignment. To help you get the best oral treatment to protect your teeth, your dentist may prescribe a mouth guard, orthodontic treatment, or myofunctional therapy, depending on your condition. Learn more!
Can Stress Cause Gum Pain
Biting your nails exposes your gums to surface bacteria that can cause inflammation and infection in your mouth (Psychology Today). It can also cause you to become ill from germs, thereby weakening your immune system, as well as damaging your teeth when performed over a long period of time (Mayo Clinic).
Is Jaw Pain Linked to Stress?
To help cope with stress, you may notice that you constantly clench your jaw muscles: “Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders,” (American Psychological Association).
And as you place more strain on your jaw and oral cavity, you may start to experience chronic pain and discomfort, which can lead to the onset of migraines, TMJ, or cracked and damaged teeth.
Protect Your Teeth, Gums, and Jaw from Stress
Amid the current pandemic, it’s fair to say that many of us are feeling more stressed or anxious these days. Therefore, if you’re starting to notice tooth pain or jaw discomfort, it might be time to schedule a visit with your Dakota Dental team!
During your consultation, we’ll discuss your concerns, identify any underlying issues, and help you find a healthy, safe treatment plan to protect your teeth and gums from further damage or pain. To schedule an appointment, call our clinic at 952.431.5771 today!
If you’d like to read up on how we’re working to keep our patients and hygienists safe from COVID-19, read our new policies, so you feel relaxed and confident during your next visit!