Stress Related Dental Problems

Posted by: Charlie Burrows

Oral health can often be affected by your overall health and as we’ve mentioned before, in particular heart related conditions can be linked to poor dental health. One of the biggest contributing factors though includes stress, which can be damaging over a long period of time. It can result in sleep disruption, fatigue, tiredness, lack of concentration and many other conditions which can be debilitating. So it makes sense that stress can also have a negative impact on our dental health.

Therefore it’s important to ensure that you keep an eye on not only your physical health but also your mental health, especially now that there are direct correlations with your dental health.

 

How can stress affect your dental health?

High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks. High cholesterol can cause heart disease. Stress can be an underlying factor of most conditions purely because it can affect appetite and mood, which can directly impact what we put in our bodies. This in turn can lead to poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles. Stress can be the cause of so many issues but for a long time noone really understood the correlation between stress and poor dental health but it does stand to reason that it would influence our behaviour and therefore how take care of ourselves.

Some of the key signs that stress could be affecting your mouth include:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Sore gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Nail biting
  • TMJ disorder (Tempromandibular)
  • Infections
  • Canker Sores

Admittedly some of these problems could be caused by other underlying issues however, in most cases they are generally stress-induced.

 

Why do we grind our teeth?

Teeth grinding can be a result of stress but “bruxism”, which is the technical term can be brought on by sleep apnea or poor diet which can result in poor sleep habits, as well as an abnormal bite. The main issue with teeth grinding is that it can have a knock-on effect, causing jaw soreness, stiff necks and headaches. Sore teeth, enamel damage and flat teeth tips are all signs that indicate you could suffer from bruxism but primarily stress is usually the cause and it’s this that needs addressing in order to alleviate further problems.

 

Canker Sores

Canker sores are not all stress-induced but many studies show that they are more common amongst students or patients in stressful situations. Effectively they are mouth ulcers caused by stress or vitamin B deficiency. Mouth bacteria also causes canker sores but again, this can be avoided by maintaining good oral health.

 

Nail Biting

Nail biting is a common result from stress and also one of the most efficient in terms of creating bacteria and transferring germs to your mouth, leading to infections. It’s also possible that warts can form due to bacterial growth and cause further infections.

 

Oral Health is Vital

As we’ve seen with medical news and many articles, there is a link now that suggests oral health has a big impact on your overall well-being and that it should no longer be ignored. Many people visit the dentist regularly but there is still an overwhelming number in the UK who physically can’t get to the dentist or who can’t become a patient at their nearest dental surgery due to the lack of availability. This is ultimately a problem which we hope to see resolved soon, whether it’s through more NHS funding or a shake up of how people can be offered the service but it’s crucial that everyone understands that dental health is more than just about teeth.