How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Are you stressed at work? Work-related stress is quite common – apparently one-fifth of EU workers are officially stressed, according to a recent EU report. This makes stress one of the most common work-related problems in the EU. Prolonged stress affects not only our physical and mental wellbeing, but also our dental health too. In this post, we’ll show you four common ways how stress can affect your oral health, and also how to deal with them.

Mouth sores

What are they? Mouth sores, also known as ‘canker’ sores, are small spots that appear in your mouth. You can identify them by their white or yellow centre and the red ring that surrounds them. They are linked to stress but no-one knows what actually causes them.

Should I be worried? Fortunately, canker sores are usually nothing to worry about. Saying that, it’s best to get them checked out if they persist for more than two weeks.

What should I do? Most mouth sores go away on their own after a few days, but if you need immediate relief, try rubbing an over-the-counter numbing cream onto the sore. Some people also report that rinsing with salt water works too.

Teeth grinding

What is it? Bruxism (teeth grinding) is a classic dental problem in stressed people. Patients with bruxism typically grind their teeth at night, though some people are known to grind during the day too.

Should I be worried? Yes, because bruxism can slowly wear down the protective enamel of teeth over time. Eventually you might need extensive dental work to repair the damage.

What should I do? The most effective treatment for bruxism is a mouth guard. A dentist can make you a high-quality mouth guard.

Poor diet

What is it? When you’re stressed, you might turn to comfort foods such as chocolate, ice cream and other sugary snacks.

Should I be worried? Yes, as a diet high in sugar can both lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

What should I do? Maintain a healthy diet as this will also have a positive effect on your mental health. Also, exercise has been proven to be good reliever of stress, so think about joining the local gym.

Neglecting to take care of your teeth

What is it? Stress can change your mood and make you neglect your dental hygiene routine.

Should I be worried? Yes, because you need to brush and floss every day to avoid tooth decay.

What should I do? When you’re stressed, don’t neglect your teeth, as this will lead to more issues in the long run. So, remember to brush twice a day and floss once a day.

Importantly what we’ve found is that being embarrassed about your smile can have a whole host of negative effects on your mental well being. If you’re concerned about anything mentioned in this article please get in touch with us and book in to see one of our dentists.



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