Stress and Your Dental Health

Does stress affect your oral health? Stress affects every part of the body, and a recent video from Dr. James J. McCall points out ways in which stress affects oral health. According to Dr. McCall, stress can cause a variety of oral health concerns, which is one reason among many that controlling stress is important.

Canker Sores

One problem that can be made worse with stress is the development of canker sores. Canker sores are small ulcer-like sores with a white or gray base, often bordered in red. They appear in pairs or even larger groups, and medical professionals do not know what causes them to develop. However, stress and fatigue make the chances of developing canker sores much higher. These sores are not contagious, but can be quite uncomfortable. Using topical anesthetics and avoiding spicy or acidic foods, which can increase irritation, may help manage the symptoms. The sores last about a week.

Cold Sores

Unlike canker sores, cold sores have a known cause- the herpes simplex virus, which is highly contagious. These fluid filled blisters appear around the lips, nose or chin. Stress and strong emotional upset can cause an outbreak. If you are suffering form cold sores, talk to your doctor about treatment to avoid spreading them.

Clenching or Grinding Teeth

If you are already in the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, stress can make the problem worse. Unfortunately, if left unchecked, this habit can wear down your teeth and cause problems with the jaw, including TMJ. A night guard or other oral appliance can help.

Poor Oral Hygiene

When you are under periods of intense stress, oral hygiene is easy to overlook. Unfortunately, skipping oral hygiene routines can make oral disease worse. Also, stressful periods of time can contribute to unhealthy eating, which can create further problems with the teeth and gums.

The reality is that stress does affect oral health. To ensure that the health of your teeth and gums is not compromised, find healthy ways to relieve stress, including healthy eating and routine exercise.

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