We all get stressed. It’s a part of life. And while we’re all familiar with what stress does to our bodies –anxiety disorders, panic attacks, irritability – our mouths can also be affected by stress. In fact, researchers have found a significant link between stress and certain oral health conditions. At the Mill Creek dental office of Dr. Brian Rutherford, we’d like to talk a little bit about why staying calm isn’t just important for your mind and body, but why it’s also crucial to the health of your mouth.
Stress can cause us to grind our teeth at night, and sometimes, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Nighttime tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, can lead to tooth damage and even problems with your TMJ (jaw) joint.
Additionally, several studies have confirmed that long-term stress affects our immune systems which can increase our susceptibility to infections. This is especially concerning for your Mill Creek dentist as a lowered immune system can increase your chance of periodontal disease.
Dry mouth also often results from conditions caused by stress or can be a side effect of some medicines used to treat depression and other diseases. Dry mouth may sound like it’s just uncomfortable, but it can actually lead to a chronic sore throat, difficulty swallowing and speaking, and can even increase the risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth infections.
Although avoiding all stress isn’t possible, learning to handle it and relieve it in healthy ways can help keep your mouth, and your body, in good shape. However, if you have, or even think you have, any of the conditions or symptoms we discussed above, don’t hesitate to call the dental office of Dr. Brian Rutherford in Mill Creek. We can discuss what’s going on in your mouth and work together to fix it.
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