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Stress and Your Oral Health

Stress can have an affect on so many things both physically and mentally, and it can even have an impact on your oral health. While it might not be the most obviously impacted area there are quite a few ways it can happen, such as clenching or grinding your teeth, sparking gum disease or making an existing condition worse, causing cold or canker sores and stress can cause you to eat the kind of foods that have a negative impact on your oral health.

If you find yourself a bit more stressed than normal there are some ways that you can prevent these problems from occurring, some that don’t even require a trip to the dentist.

Cold Sores

What they are: Caused by the herpes simplex virus these are contagious blisters filled with fluid that show up generally in the lip area.

Cause: Skin abrasions, fevers, sunburn and emotional upset.

Fixes: It will likely heal on its own in about a week but an over-the-counter or prescription meds should be used immediately to prevent spreading. Your dentist or doctor can advise you which is best.

Canker Sores

What they are: Found inside the mouth, these are small ulcers that are red around the outside and grayish on the inside. You may find a few to many at once. They are not contagious

Cause: The cause is unknown for now but it is believed to be bacterial, viral or related to immune issues. Canker Sores are worsened or triggered by allergies, fatigue and stress.

Fixes: Avoid acidic foods like citrus and tomato and spicy hot foods. Over-the-counter topical treatments are available. They generally heal in 10 days or less.

Grinding Teeth

What it is: When your mouth is clenched tightly or you grind your top and bottom teeth together. Temporomandibular joint problems can arise.

Cause: This is often caused, and made worse by, stress.

Fixes: Your dentist can help here. There are things that can be placed in the mouth during sleep to reduce or stop grinding.

Gum Disease

What it is: An overabundance of dental plaque that can lead to gingivitis, bleeding gums or more serious conditions.

Cause: Stress can cause it from poor oral hygiene, negligence due to stress.

Fixes: Brush and floss twice daily at minimum, use mouth wash, regular dental visits and a good diet will all help.

Poor Oral Hygiene

What it is: When oral health suffers from a lack of a steady routine.

Cause:  Stress can affect moods or lead to depression and your oral health routine may take a hit from skipping brushing and flossing. Stressing and snacking often go hand in hand so the poor eating habits are impacting oral health, as well.

Fixes: Try finding stress relieving activities to stop yourself from snacking on high sugar foods and beverages that can lead to things like tooth decay. Exercise is a great way to keep your energy up and prevent you from slacking on your routine.