Is Stress Getting to Your Bite?

We all know that stress can affect our health, sometimes leading to heart disease, digestive problems, sleep disorders and substance abuse. But did you know that stress and the way we handle stress can also affect our teeth?
Among the most common dental problems associated with stress are sleep bruxism (teeth grinding) and TMJ. Both of these conditions may begin with our handling of stressful situations. Studies have shown that people who use a negative coping strategy like “escape” are more likely to manifest symptoms like teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw. The impact on dental health is serious. Bruxism is often responsible for wearing away the enamel on teeth or even causing it to chip off. This exposes the inner tooth to decay and nerve sensitivity.
TMJ disorder covers a broad range of additional problems including headache, ear problems, locking and clicking of the jaw, facial pain, and dizziness. Fortunately, your dentist has treatments available to mitigate these symptoms. However, learning to handle stress effectively might help to prevent them from developing at all.
A third dental condition that may be exacerbated by stress is periodontal disease. Stress appears to increase the hormone cortisol in gum tissue, provoking erosion of the gum and bone. Individuals who have difficulty handling stress also develop self-destructive or neglectful habits. Their use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs tends to increase, and their dietary and oral hygiene routines are neglected.
Have you let stress have an impact on your dental health? Here are four points to consider:

  1. Are you too hurried in the morning or too tired at night to brush and floss properly?
  2. Do you skip eating fresh vegetables and fruit in favor of fast foods?
  3. Do you neglect your exercise routine?
  4. Are you experiencing signs of TMJ or periodontitis?

Exercise, a well-balanced diet and regular oral hygiene can actually help to ease feelings of stress, as well as keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Regular dental check ups with the Dr. Kana or Dr. Patel will keep you from developing serious problems. Calll The Dental Depot of Highland Village today at 972-966-1234 to schedule your next dental check up for you and your family.

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