Stress is such a big part of most people’s daily lives that there is an entire day dedicated to the awareness of it all. This year, we all acknowledge the role stress plays in our lives on November 3, and we do what we can to eliminate it ahead of what some consider the most stressful two months of the year.
Stress can manifest in many different ways; one of which is by causing problems in your mouth, such as teeth grinding, TMJ pain, gum disease, and much more.
Grinding or clenching your teeth, also known as bruxism, is a well-known sign of stress or anxiety. The difficult part about this is that many people do it subconsciously, oftentimes in their sleep. While a night mouthguard can be a good option, it is always wise to consult your dentist to be sure that is the root cause of your pain and that there are no long-term effects from your bruxism.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is found in the muscles and joints of your jaw. Those experiencing TMJ pain find it hard to eat, chew, and sometimes even open their mouth. There are signs to look for, including sore jaw muscles and a pop or click in your jaw. If you are experiencing jaw pain or soreness, especially while under a great amount of stress, even if you don’t hear pops or clicks, you should make an appointment to see your dentist. Stress is the number one cause of TMJ, so your dentist will work with you to find a solution that best fits your lifestyle, such as Botox.
Stress can cause even more severe issues, such as gum disease and infections; over half of all adults in America have periodontitis, which is the most severe form of gum disease. Stress can cause a weakened immune system, which can lead to oral infections and other bacteria spreading through your gums.
Chronic or severe stress can also manifest into dry mouth and canker sores. While a dry mouth can generally be treated by drinking plenty of water and using non-alcoholic mouthwash, you should see your dentist if you experience dry mouth often and more than just during stressful periods. Canker sores are painful sores that are formed on the tissue of your mouth. Stress can increase the risk of developing these canker sores, and each one takes between 10 and 14 days to fully heal. While most canker sores can be treated at home, you should call your dentist if you are constantly battling them. As you can see, stress has a crazy way of affecting your daily life. If you’ve noticed any of these above symptoms (or anything else relating to your mouth, gums, or teeth), give us a call. We know that everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress, but we’d love to help you reduce yours – whether that’s a mouthguard to cut down on your grinding, Botox to help reduce your TMJ, or anything else that works for your specific situation.