The hustle of daily life can cause a lot of stress on an average person. While we are used to associating stress with mental health, the effect it has on our mouths often goes unnoticed.
Here are some little known oral problems that are caused by stress and how to solve them.
Canker sores are little spots that line the inside of your mouth and have a whitish base with a red border. They can come in pairs or in clusters and are quite sensitive to the touch.
Cold sores are red, tender spots that appear on the lips. They are filled with fluid and occur most often you’re upset or anxious.
Experts attribute the spontaneous development of these sores to a weakened immune system. People with chronic or long-term stress tend to disrupt the immune system by creating high levels of cortisol in the body. Too much cortisol causes suppression in lymphocytes which signal immune cells when reinforcements are needed to fight illness.
Generally, these two types of sores clear up in about a week. While canker sores can’t be spread, cold sores carry a virus and should be treated by a doctor. Most antiviral drugs will stop cold sores quickly.
Stress causes you to clench and grind your teeth, which leads to weakened teeth and joint problems where your skull and lower jar meet. Most often, people who grind their teeth don’t even notice it (it even happens in your sleep!).
Night guards are what most dentists recommend for people with this problem. Despite the stress you’re feeling while you’re awake, try be mindful of your mouth and if you catch yourself grinding, consciously stop doing it.
Many medications for stress relief can cause dry mouth. Stress might also have you breathing with your mouth more often (and unconsciously). Dry mouth increases your risk of cavities and causes tenderness when chewing and swallowing.
Be sure to drink plenty of water and keep an eye on the effects your stress medications are having on your mouth. If the condition continues, see about switching medications so that you don’t jeopardize your dental health.
Nobody’s immune from stress but knowing its impact on your mouth is important. Taking progressive steps to relieve tension and stress will help you avoid the toll these conditions might take on you.
By regularly seeing your dentist and talking to them about your stress levels, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile. Call us at Desai Dental today and see how we can help you tackle these conditions.