Protect Your Oral Health and Your Mental Health
You have probably heard that stress affects your immune system, behavior, and blood pressure, but did you know that stress can also affect your teeth? Long-term stress can have a major impact on your oral health in more ways than one. If you’ve been feeling like your teeth hurt, and you aren’t suffering from any other oral health issues, all that stress might be to blame.
Stress and Tooth Pain
Here are some ways that stress can have a negative impact on your teeth, and what you can do to stop it:
- Stress causes you to overexert the jaw, which can cause jaw disorders like TMD.
If your body is stressed or anxious, you might respond by clenching your jaw without knowing it, which can lead to jaw conditions like TMD, or temporomandibular disorder. While TMJ refers to the joint area, TMD refers to this disorder. It triggers pain in the jaw area, interfering with your ability to open your mouth fully and giving you a tired feeling in your face. Basically, TMD is no fun, but there are steps you can take to prevent it –
- Gum can be a tasty treat, but it can also put extra stress on your jaw. Taking a break from popping bubblegum will help keep your jaw from popping too.
- If you are prone to TMJ pain, eating softer foods when possible can help prevent it.
- Make an effort to relax your jaw.
- Stress can cause you to grind your teeth, especially in your sleep, which wears down your teeth over time.
Did you know that teeth grinding actually has a name? It is called bruxism, and it is a sleep-related movement disorder that can be brought on by stress. Not only is the sensation of teeth grinding unpleasant to wake up to, it can result in fractured and lost teeth. Keep the grinding at bay and keep your teeth strong by taking the following precautions –
- Talk to Dr. Hill about wearing a dental nightguard. This will help prevent damage caused by grinding teeth in your sleep. If you think you might have a fracture, make an appointment with our team and we will get to the bottom of the issue.
- Try some relaxation techniques to minimize your stress levels. If you are prone to grinding your teeth at night, it might help to try them before bed. Practices like meditation, yoga, talk therapy, and exercise can all be tools for prevention.
- High stress levels can make you less likely to keep up with your oral health.
In addition to grinding teeth and jaw pain, stress can affect your oral health in ways that might be less obvious. Overall, individuals with greater levels of stress in their lives have reported poorer oral health. This could be due to the fact that they are not prioritizing daily brushing and flossing or attending frequent dental visits. We know it isn’t always possible to get rid of the stress in your life entirely, but here are some steps you can take to make sure your oral health doesn’t suffer from it --
- Remember that cleaning your teeth regularly and staying up-to-date on your checkups will help prevent cavities, tooth decay, and other dental problems that will only cause you more stress. Generally, it is recommended that everyone visit the dentist twice a year, but the best times will depend on the needs of the individual and can be determined by your dental provider. Getting your teeth cleaned when the dentists say will help keep the stress and tooth decay at bay!
- Use the time you spend cleaning your teeth as an opportunity to relax and unwind. If you are having a stressful day, it can be the one time when you don’t need to worry about anything except the task in front of you!
- Make sure you are visiting a dental office that makes your experience as pleasant as possible. At Hill Dentistry, we believe that going to the dentist should fill you with relief, not dread. We create a warm and relaxing environment, and your satisfaction is our top priority.
The Hill Dentistry Difference
When you visit Hill Dentistry, you’ll have access to a dentist with over 29 years of experience in dental arts. Dr. Hill loves what he does, and he wants to make sure that you love your smile too. If there is anything that will ease your stress when it comes to your oral health, it is the fact that Dr. Hill has never stopped advancing his knowledge and skills throughout his career. This allows us to provide an experience of comfortable and caring dental treatments, with results that will exceed your expectations.