Stress can have an overpowering impact on our whole body. From poor diet, sleepless night and laziness to depression, stress can seriously alter your life. However, how does stress impact your teeth in particular?
Stress can lead to a lot of harmful things regarding your teeth. It can even lead to tooth loss and the painful TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome.
The most visible sign stress when it comes to teeth is canker sores and fever blisters. Canker sores are small grey or white ulcers that appear in the mouth. They are not contagious, but they can be painful and embarrassing. A virus that lives in the body causes cold sores, also called fever blisters. This virus is called herpes simplex and outbreaks are contagious. They are small clusters of water-filled blisters that can appear around or in the mouth. Herpes simplex is often triggered by stress and the lack of sleep. There are some treatments available, and you should go to your dentist as soon as you see an outbreak of either.
A growing issue when it comes to dental health and stress is tooth grinding. Also known as ‘bruxism’. The most common sufferer will grind their jaw in their sleep. Often done unconsciously, you can do this when you are awake as well. If you already clench your jaw, stress can make it much worse. It can lead to the wearing down of your molars, and cracking or fracturing of your teeth. Think you suffer from bruxism and want to solve the issue? You can read one of our older blogs on this topic.
A big problem with grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw is that it can lead to a syndrome called TMJ or TMD. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is your jaw joint. Excessive clenching or tooth grinding can lead to a very painful condition. You get pain in your jaw, your face and even your ear. Common symptoms include:
1. Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
2. Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
3. Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
4. Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
5. A tired feeling in your face
6. Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
7. Swelling on the side of your face
It can be simple to solve but you’re best seeking the guidance of a dental professional. If you are clenching your jaw or have a tooth-grinding problem, you should see your dentist right away.
Stress is a very prevalent issue in the dental world. If you are feeling overcome with stress, don’t be ashamed in getting some help. You can head over to another of our older blog posts, which helps the reader deal with stress in the workplace.
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