Stress and Oral Health

The unknown nature of the COVID-19 outbreak is causing a lot of uncertainty, which can increase stress levels in many patients. You may not be aware that stress can have a major impact on your mouth. From short-term complaints to long-term problems, stress can affect almost every aspect of your oral health. This makes it more important now than ever to keep an eye on your teeth. At Ridgetop Dental Reston, we want to remind our patients to look out for signs of stress, including:

Oral Health Reston, VA dentist

Mouth Sores

It’s a common aphorism that stress gives you ulcers. You may be surprised to learn that this is not so far from the truth. Mouth sores, such as canker or cold sores, often spring up in response to emotional stress. While cold sores are a symptom of the herpes virus, doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes canker sores. Whatever the cause may be, they are more common in times of stress.

Teeth Grinding

This is probably the most common unconscious physical reaction to stress. The next time you are feeling stressed, pay attention; you may find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth without meaning to. Grinding teeth can cause headaches, jaw pain, and undue wear. Left untreated, it can ruin jaw alignment and even develop into a more complex problem such as TMJ. Since much teeth grinding occurs during sleep, a nighttime mouthguard may be your best bet to combat this issue.

Poor Oral Hygiene and Diet

Patients who are stressed may not be giving themselves the time to brush teeth or floss regularly. In addition, a poor diet resulting from stress can cause a lack of vitamins and nutrients. These vitamins and nutrients not only benefit your physical health but your oral health as well. Be sure you are eating regular, healthy meals.