As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across America, many people are struggling more with stress and anxiety. Stress also has an impact on both mind and body. But what exactly does it do to your oral health? Dr. Caleb A. Robinson, a dentist in New Philadelphia, OH, discusses what you should look out for with added stress.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
A common impact of stress on oral health is the tendency to clench or grind your teeth. Even if you didn’t have a habit of it before, these are very stressful times we’re under. You may develop it regardless. Teeth grinding or clenching can happen at night when you’re sleeping, or during the day time subconsciously. You may not even notice it’s happening.
You’ll usually know you’ve developed the habit when you start feeling pain in your jaw, face, and ears. You may experience more frequent headaches, especially upon waking up. Pressing your teeth together creates a lot of tension, and that might radiate down into your neck and shoulders.
Teeth grinding also makes it more likely you’ll damage your teeth. It could be anything from a small, cosmetic chip, to a severe crack or break. A more severe issue could expose the tooth pulp, causing pain for you and making that tooth more susceptible to bacteria and tooth decay.
Decreased Immune Response
One of the biggest things to worry about with stress is a decreased immune response. This impacts oral health directly, making you more likely to get bacterial infections in the mouth, as well as gum disease.
Mouth infections brought on by stress will often show as ulcers or sores. You may also notice red or white spots or lines in your mouth. It’s important to keep these clean and sterile if possible. Rinse your mouth frequently with warm salt water. An antiseptic oral gel is something else you should utilize if you have any.
If you notice that you have bleeding gums or more tender gums, these are both indicators of gum disease. The openings where your gums are bleeding also provide a great opportunity for bacteria from the disease to spread to other parts of the body via your bloodstream. Gum disease also causes inflammation, which your body is constantly fighting. This makes you more susceptible to other infections or viruses.
Your Dentist in New Philadelphia, Ohio
If you have a dental emergency due to stress, call us immediately and we’ll schedule an appointment as soon as we can with the crisis. Make sure stress hasn’t messed too badly with your smile after the pandemic, too. We’ll be here for checkups. Call us or schedule an appointment online for the future. We hope to see you soon!