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The Impact of Stress on Oral Health Care

Stress can impact so many parts of our lives, from our mental wellbeing to our physical health and this also includes our oral health care as well. Anxiety and stress can have so many adverse effects on our lives that many people aren’t even aware of the cause.

It can lead to a weakening of the immune system, biting our nails and grinding our teeth, which will inevitably affect our oral health. Understanding the signs and the impact that stress can have on our bodies is the first step to tackling it, as well as learning some oral health facts and the methods we can use to prevent certain conditions and maintain a healthy smile.


Biting Your Nails

This is one of the classic signs that you are going through a stressful period in your life and many of us bite our nails as a result. Apart from having shorter nails, this might not seem too bad, but over long periods of time, this can start to have adverse effects.

So much bacteria is found around our nails and hands and biting your nails means this makes its way to our mouths and gums. This can increase the likelihood of getting a mouth or gum infection, which can be a painful process to deal with. This can also unnecessarily wear down your teeth over time, as well.


Grinding Your Teeth

This is another classic sign of stress that can be found in people of all ages. This usually involves grinding the upper and lower teeth together, chewing in the roof of the mouth or inside of the cheeks.

This usually happens at night and can not only wear down your teeth, but cause headaches and pain in your jaw, or the muscles surrounding your jaw. In extreme cases, it can lead to losing teeth, so it’s best to address this issue if you find yourself doing it.


Lowered Immune System

When we are feeling anxious or stressed our bodies can become vulnerable to infections. This is because constant stress can lower your body’s immunity against germs, making our immune systems less effective. This can include gum infections and decaying teeth.

Although this isn’t a direct cause of a stressful lifestyle, by having a less active immune system, you can be made vulnerable to conditions like mouth infections, increasing the likelihood of something going awry with your oral health care.


Jaw Aches and Pains

Many of us don’t associate our jaws with our dental health, but aches and pains in this part of our bodies can indicate that problems may arise, or already have done, in relation to our teeth. These aches and pains can be a result of TMD, which is a jaw disorder.

This disorder causes pain in your jaw joint and can extend to the muscles used to open your mouth and the surrounding area, too. Another sign of this can also be a clicking when you yawn and open your mouth. Although TMD usually gets better on its own, chewing your nails and grinding your teeth is often associated with this.


Canker Sores

These are small sores that you can find in your mouth, that can be irritable and a bit uncomfortable. They are not very serious, although they can be a result of stress and the kind of behaviours that comes with it. For example, biting and chewing the side of your mouth can cause these to come about and they could also be a sign of a vitamin B deficiency.

They can take around 14 days to heal properly, in which time it is best to be conscious of not making them worse. There are also creams available from pharmacies that can help with the slight pain that comes along with canker sores.


Tackling Stress and Improving Your Oral Health Care

Stress can have negative effects on so many aspects of our health, whether it is directly or indirectly. Becoming aware of the impact stress is having on your oral health is a great first step, as well as identifying the problems you are experiencing with your teeth.

Once you are aware that you are grinding your teeth, for example, and this is having an impact on your health, you can consult your dentist.


How Can Your Dentist Help?

Our dentists have plenty of experience in helping our patients to tackle the effects of stress and anxiety. Because so many different stresses and responsibilities in our lives, dentists are well versed in the impact this can have on our oral hygiene and overall health. By having a simple consultation, or e-consultation, you can start on your journey to better oral health and learn how to have healthy teeth.

Hermes Dentists London is an award-winning dental clinic with experience and a proven track record in many dentistry services. Our staff have years of experience and can offer you all sorts of solutions and preventative methods, so you can achieve a natural, healthy smile.

If you want more reasons to smile, then simply contact us today to discuss stress and oral health care– we’d love to help.

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