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Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

Stress Can Affect Your Oral HealthStress is a natural part of life, but too much stress can cause health problems ranging from irritability and lack of sleep, to anxiety and depression. Recently, researchers also discovered that stress might play a role in the development of dental problems, too.

Your mouth can be affected by stress in several ways. Some problems that have been linked to stress include:

1. Canker sores
While the cause of canker sores is unknown, stress can trigger an outbreak of these painful oral ulcers.

2. Gum disease
Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gum tissue. Stress can suppress the immune system, increasing the risk of developing opportunistic infections, such as those to blame for gum disease.

3. Bruxism
Also called tooth grinding, this stress-related habit can severely damage your teeth.

4. Dry mouth
Stress can cause the mouth to become very dry, and the medications used to treat anxiety can also lead to dry mouth. When there is too little saliva, the risk of decay, gum disease, and other major dental problems soars.

5. TMJ
Stress can trigger symptoms of TMJ and can lead to dental problems, such as bruxism, that can worsen TMJ.

While it might be impossible to eliminate all stress from your life, you can change the way you handle stress. Focus on your health, and use healthy stress-busters, like a brisk walk or chat with friends, rather than unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as alcohol or tobacco use. Get professional help if symptoms persist and affect your quality of life. Call our office to find out more or to schedule your next dental cleaning.

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