Is Stress Affecting Your Oral Health?
This past year has been difficult for all of us. We have been living in a way that is strange and uncomfortable, whether your job has switched to being fully virtual, your children are now learning virtually, or you have had to figure out a work-life balance while being stuck at home. No matter what your situation, we know it hasn’t been easy. People who have never experienced stress or anxiety are feeling it for the first time. Without even speaking to our patients, we can often tell their stress level just by looking in their mouths. Are you interested to see how we can tell if you are experiencing stress or anxious feelings? Continue reading to find out.
Stress in Your Life and Its Effect on Your Mouth
We are all experiencing life in a new way, and for many, it’s really not a pleasant experience. A lot of our patients have been experiencing record levels of stress and anxiety. We can tell just by looking in your mouth that you are experiencing this. Your mouth reveals all of your secrets, whether you want it to or not. We know if you brush your teeth frequently, snack often, and if you floss. Your mouth also has signs that you are stressed:
Cracked or Worn Teeth
Often, when people are feeling stressed or anxious, they have a habit of grinding their teeth. This is when you press your top teeth and bottom teeth together by using pressure. When this pressure continues for an extended period of time, the enamel—the hard outer shell of your teeth—begins to wear away. When that happens, your teeth are more vulnerable and can crack or break easily. Frequently, people are not aware that they are doing this until a loved one comments or they suffer an issue with their teeth.
Mouth sores are certainly no fun, especially when you want to eat a bite of pizza with tomato sauce or something spicy. Canker sores often pop up during times of high anxiety and stress. They can also occur after biting the inside of your mouth, as many do when nervous. If you are feeling discomfort, be sure to use an over-the-counter numbing agent.
When experiencing stress or anxiety, it can cause your heart rate to rise, increasing your breathing rate. Think about when you run or exercise and your heart rate is up, you breathe heavier and need to drink more water. That is partially due to dry mouth, and the same effect occurs during times of stress. Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep up the saliva production in your mouth.
If you notice that you are experiencing any issues with your mouth, please contact our office located in Burton, MI as soon as possible. Dental issues that remain untreated can progress into something serious over time and can lead to extreme discomfort and costly repairs. We hope that you are staying healthy and safe and look forward to seeing you at your next appointment.