How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

The stress many people are under today has a wide ranging effect on many aspects of day to day living impacting overall health. But quite often the impact of stress is evidenced in the appearance and condition of our teeth. One way to keep oral health optimum is to keep those twice yearly appointments with your family dentist.
Unemployment and reduced wages are realities in our world today. Dental insurance is considered a luxury for many. You know the old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. This is sadly how many families have to deal with day to day needs. If it hurts, you go to the dentist. But by this time it is too late, and more extensive and costly treatment may be needed.
So stress escalates because of unexpected dental bills. It’s a recurring theme creating frustration for both the patient and dental provider. Reducing stress would be advantageous for oral health reducing the chance for:
• Grinding and clenching – Daily stresses don’t disappear just because we are sleeping. The tension felt throughout the day can carry over resulting in nightly grinding and clenching. The results from this unchecked pressure can be broken or cracked teeth; worn down teeth creating a malocclusion; a breach of an old filling that can mean infection or root canal therapy.
• Gum disease – Research is on-going to study the correlation between stress and gum disease. There are hormones released by the body at times of stress that may impact oral health. Gum disease left untreated may result in abscess and/or tooth loss.
• Canker sores – Much is unknown about this very uncomfortable condition, but anyone who gets a canker sore can attest to the ten days of agony that follows. Sores can become quite large, and can appear anywhere on oral soft tissue making it difficult to eat or speak.
Constant daily stress may also promote the use of things we perceive will make us feel better. Tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs can exacerbate dental problems, but stress can supersede good sense allowing negative decisions to take over.
Seeing the family dentist on a consistent basis may catch many of these problems before they can escalate into major dental care. Don’t wait for a twinge to turn into throbbing agony – keep your scheduled dental appointments to maintain optimum oral health.
If stress is wreaking havoc on your mouth, contact the office of Dr. Philip Kozlow at 972-458-2464 to schedule a consultation.

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