Stress is one of the most common problems that we face during our lives. Whether it’s stress at work, home or elsewhere, we all feel stressed at some point. It’s something that can affect anyone of any age or background.
They say that a little bit of stress is a good thing because it forces us to get things done. However, it’s also true that when the stress is severe or prolonged, it can harm your mental and physical health.
One of the aspects of your physical health that can be affected is your oral health. Did you know that stress can cause damage to your mouth, your teeth and even your gums? In this blog post, we will discuss the different ways stress can affect your oral health. We will also give you some tips on how to tackle each problem.
1. Stress can cause you to grind your teeth
Have you heard of the word ‘bruxism’ before? It’s a fancy term for the act of grinding your teeth – that classic thing that people do when they’re stressed.
Whatever you call it, teeth grinding is a real problem for people with stress. It can damage your teeth to the point where you need extensive work done to repair the damage.
If you suspect that you’ve been grinding your teeth, then it’s best to see a dentist right away. Your dentist may recommend that you wear a nightguard to prevent further damage.
2. Stress can cause you to chew pencils or your fingernails
When people are stressed or nervous, they often chew on objects such as pens, pencils and their fingernails. This can make them feel better for a while.
However, you should never chew on objects. This is because it’s bad for your teeth. It can weaken your teeth over time and eventually cause them to break or fracture.
So if you’re guilty of chewing on pencils, then replace this bad habit with a healthier one, such as exercise or squeezing a stress ball.
3. Stress can make you crave nicotine
Smokers often turn cigarettes when they’re feeling stressed. The chemicals in the cigarette can make them feel good for a while, which can help them cope with the stress. Even many ex-smokers, people who have never touched a cigarette for several years, have been known to start smoking again when their lives get stressful. The loss of a job, a death in the family, and divorce are all events that can trigger people to start smoking again.
However, smoking should never be a crutch to help you cope with stress. Cigarettes are very bad for your oral health and cause problems such as dry mouth, oral cancer, infections and staining.
Stress affects our bodies in many ways, and one of the areas of our body that gets affected is our teeth. If you’ve been under a lot of stress lately, then please see a dentist for an evaluation of how it is affecting your oral health.
Next week we’ll look at three more ways that stress can worsen your oral health: diet, mouth sores and your dental hygiene routine. See you then!