What Stress Does to Oral Health

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the nation, anxiety and stress are becoming prevalent. With the disruption of normal routines and time in isolation, many people are experiencing a lot more stress. This impacts both the mind and body. But what does it do to your oral health? Westborough Dental Associates, a dentist in Westborough, MA, advises what to be on the lookout for.westborough, massachusetts dentist

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

You may not have ever had a problem with clenching and grinding your teeth. However, when stress hits, clenching and grinding are habits that commonly occur. Many times, it happens when you’re sleeping and you don’t realize it. It can also happen during the day, whether you catch yourself doing it or not.

Teeth clenching and grinding can lead to headaches and pain in the jaw, face, and ears. It also means a higher chance of chips, breaks, and cracks in your teeth. These can range from cosmetic issues to a severe break or crack. Your tooth pulp may be exposed and painful. This would be considered a dental emergency. As we’re still handling emergencies during the crisis, call us immediately if this happens.

TMJ Disorders

Frequent grinding and clenching of teeth can lead to disorders of the jaw joint. You may notice popping or clicking when you’re moving your jaw. It can be difficult to eat or speak, and you can struggle with normal movements like opening and closing.

Since you’re isolated, it’s hard to get full treatment for your TMJ disorder symptoms. There are massage techniques and exercises that you can try out to relieve some of the symptoms. If you have a family member, partner, or roommate with you, you can ask them to help out.

Decreased Immune Response

One of the biggest things to watch out for with stress is a decreased immune response. But how does this impact your oral health? It makes you more susceptible to bacterial infections of the mouth, as well as gum disease. If you notice red or white sores or ulcers, that’s an infection brought on by stress. Use warm salt water rinses and antiseptic oral gel to help keep them clean and treat them.

Gum disease is another big problem. If you notice bleeding gums or gums that are more tender than normal, that’s a warning sign. Bacteria from the infection can get into the openings from those bleeding gums, spreading to the rest of your body through the bloodstream. Another thing people may not think about is inflammation. The body is trying to fight the inflammation of gum disease, leaving it more vulnerable to other infections.

Your Dentist in Westborough, Massachusetts

If you have a dental emergency, call us immediately. And make sure that stress doesn’t mess with your smile. Call us or schedule an appointment online to get a checkup for the future. We hope to see you soon!