Stress can wreak havoc on our bodies – research keep showing how stress affects our lives and our well-being.  Did you know that stress also affects your smile?student headache

Chronic, long term stress affects your mouth, teeth and gums in the following ways:

  • Mouth sores, like canker sores and cold sores may form
  • You may clench and grind your teeth
  • You might skip your oral care routine
  • Stress makes us make bad food choices
  • Bad habits may develop, like biting nails or chewing ice

Mouth sores are a common side effect of stress. Canker sores appear inside the mouth, sometimes one, sometimes many. Doctors aren’t sure what causes these painful little sores but they are not contagious and typically resolve on their own in about 10 days. Cold sores, on the other hand, are contagious. Cold sores, or fever blisters, commonly pop up during times of stress or illness. These sores heal in about a week but there are medications that can treat the outbreak. Ask your doctor or dentist.

Teeth grinding or bruxism can happen to anyone. Stressed or not, many people unconsciously grind their teeth – often during sleep. Bruxism can lead to broken teeth and painful problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). You may be grinding your teeth if you experience frequent headaches (especially in the morning), facial pain, changes in hearing or muscle spasms in the face or neck. A visit to a dentist with special training in the field of neuromuscular dentistry can help by creating a special orthotic device that will quiet the jaw pain and avoid damage to the teeth.

Diet and Oral Hygiene are both important to maintain at optimal levels, especially when you are highly stressed. Poor diet will make you even more run down overall and proper nutrition is essential for healthy gums. During stressful times we tend to create more plaque which needs to be cleaned away on a daily basis. Gum disease would be just another added problem to your already stressful life. Make the time to brush and floss every day – make it a little meditation time if needed.

Please contact Dr. Bernard Greenbaum in Bethesda, MD today at 301-530-3600 to schedule your next visit.