Common symptoms of stress-related dental problems
Dealing with stress can feel overwhelming, and unfortunately, it can also affect your dental health. If you're feeling particularly stressed and having problems with your teeth, there are some common symptoms to look out for. Here is a list of ways stress affects your overall health:
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain
- Bad breath
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Tension in the chewing muscles
- Inflammation of the periodontium (periodontitis)
- Tension of the facial muscles
- Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
- Increased jaw clenching
- Frequent headaches
These dental problems can range from mild to very severe. In addition, people with high levels of stress often forget to take care of their oral hygiene as well, which can lead to deterioration of the tooth structure.
Mouth ulcers, sometimes called aphthous ulcers, are uncomfortable sores that form in the oral tissues. Although the exact cause is not yet known, there is evidence that stress increases the likelihood of mouth ulcers developing. It is thought that ulcers are caused by the immune system attacking the oral mucosa and breaking down the tissue. Canker sores usually disappear on their own within 10 to 14 days, but can be very painful and uncomfortable during this time. a canker sore can occur on the cheek, on the inside of the lip, on or under the tongue, or on the soft palate during periods of heavy stress. This is more likely if you brush too hard, eat hot or acidic meals, or suffer a minor injury in the mouth, such as an accidental bite to the cheek. It is advisable to find ways to reduce stress so that your oral health is not affected by an oral ulcer. You can apply a numbing agent such as Orajel or a similar over-the-counter medication when a mouth ulcer develops. Saltwater rinses can also help relieve pain and inflammation.
Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is caused by decreased salivation. According to research, stress, anxiety, and depression can cause your salivary glands to produce less, which can result in a dry mouth. When feeling stressed, many people may breathe through their mouths, which can further dry up oral tissues. Although having a dry mouth may not seem like a big deal, producing adequate saliva is crucial for maintaining good dental health. Enough saliva helps to prevent cavities and gingivitis by cleaning out the bacteria and food particles in your mouth. As a result of a dry mouth, bacteria and food particles might remain in your mouth and on your teeth. This can dramatically raise your risk for tooth decay and cavities.
Increasing saliva production by consuming lots of water is one technique to treat dry mouth. A non-alcoholic mouthwash rinse can also assist in reducing dry mouth. See your dentist if your dry mouth persists after your stressful time is past so they can determine the cause, offer the best treatment, and take steps to prevent tooth decay.