Stress and Oral health
We all go through experiences in life that make us stressed. Some of which can be the lead up to big exams, making a big life change or something as small as trying something new.
Stress can cause us to be tired, feel groggy and even miss out on sleep but what many people do not know is that it can have a major effect on our oral health too.
Keeping your oral health in check during these stressful times is very important, as it can prevent:
Swollen gingiva - which is when your gums can become very red, inflamed and sore. You might notice your gums tend to bleed while brushing. Most people think because they are bleeding you should stop brushing them but you should just have a lighter hand while doing so as cleaning your gums during this time will aid in their recovery.
ANUG – Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingiva, which is a painful gum infection. Symptoms of this can be swollen gums, bad breath and excessive saliva. ANUG can be diagnosed by your dentist and it is generally treated with antibiotics, antibacterial mouth wash and debridement (which is a deep cleaning carried out usually by a dental hygienist). Although it is more common in patients who are smokers it can still affect everyone during stressful times.
Grinding and clenching – Grinding and clenching are very common for patients who are going through a stressful time. It mostly occurs unknown to us as we do it mostly at night. Grinding and clenching causes the upper and lower teeth to contact more frequently and can lead to tooth wear which can cause flat shorter teeth. It can also cause problems such as headaches especially in the morning, tenderness to the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and also risk of fracturing dental restorations, crowns and dentures. If you feel you are grinding and clenching a lot at night, getting a night guard and wearing it while you sleep can help you stop and protect your teeth from unnecessary wear.
Taking care of your teeth and gums during stressful times can prevent more stressful problems and save you adding more stress to a certain situation. Brushing your teeth three times a day, flossing and using mouthwash daily can prevent all of the problems above and keep your oral health at its best.