What Stress Can Do to Your Mouth

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a deal of confusion that can be quite stressful for many people. Stress can make it hard to focus on something like rigorous toothbrushing. Unfortunately, stress is a major contributing factor in a variety of common dental health complaints, so maintaining good hygiene is more important now than ever.

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Bruxism

When you think of your stress behavior, this may be what you think of first. “Bruxism” is another word for teeth grinding. When you are stressed, your muscles can become tense. This includes your jaw muscles, and clenching or grinding is the result. Grinding your teeth can cause immediate damage including excessive wear, chips, cracks, and even broken teeth. Over time severe grinding could cause or worsen malocclusion leading to complex issues such as TMJ and sleep apnea.

Gum Disease

Believe it or not, stress is a powerful emotion that can even weaken your immune system. This, of course, opens you up to a host of health problems – including gum disease. With a reduced immune system, your body is less able to fight off the bacteria that cause decay and gum disease, and your gums can become increasingly inflamed.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores are another complication of a compromised immune system. Cold sores are a manifestation of the herpes virus which, with the immune system out of the picture, is free to materialize. Doctors still aren’t sure exactly what causes canker sores, but weakened immunity is definitely a risk factor. Avoiding stress can help keep these painful lesions at bay.

Call Us for Questions

Bethesda Dental Implant Center in Bethesda, MD is well equipped to combat all these problems and more. If you have any questions about how stress could be affecting your mouth, please feel free to contact us. You can reach us on our website or at (301) 493-6200 (Bethesda) or (202) 337-0200 (DC).