Stress can creep up on us in our day-to-day lives, whether it be the commute, an important meeting, or your personal life, we all feel stressed from time to time. Most of us know the implications stress can have on our mental and physical health, however it can also impact oral health in a negative way. 

Grinding (bruxism)

We show signs of stress often when we sleep, and some people wake up with a sore jaw from grinding their teeth during the night. This can chip and wear down teeth over time and cause headaches and earaches. 

What to do. We can assess your jaw and make you an appliance known as a nightguard for you to use while you sleep. The nightguard will help prevent grinding. 

Mouth ulcers 

Stress is a common cause of mouth ulcers, amongst other things like deficiencies in iron and B vitamins, overzealous toothbrushing and biting your cheek and eating highly acidic foods.

What to do. Most ulcers will disappear within 10 days, however, see a dental professional if the ulcer hasn’t healed within 3 weeks. Avoid acidic, spicy, salty, and rough foods. To help healing, rinse often with salted hot water.

Tooth loss 

When feeling stressed or anxious, self-care can become less important and become neglected. Some may indulge in consuming sugary comfort food, or an inattention to the oral hygiene routine, which can cause plaque build-up, caries, and even tooth loss.

What to do. Try to remember healthy habits to minimise damage to your oral health. For example, drink a glass of water after sugary foods, and remember to floss and brush with a fluoride toothpaste. Seeing our hygienists regularly to professionally clean your teeth and keep a close eye on your oral health to help minimise the risks during stressed periods of your life.

Gum disease & mouth cancer 

Habits, like smoking, are also more likely during stressful periods. Smokers are six times more likely to suffer from gum disease and are three times more likely to develop mouth cancer. This is due to the thousands of chemicals contained in each cigarette that damage cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous. 

What to do. The good news is that people who quit smoking have the same risk of developing gum disease as non-smokers. Quit smoking and replace smoking with a stress habit that wouldn’t damage your oral health, for example chewing sugar-free gum.  

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