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Stress is the body’s internal and external reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional response. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.

Too much stress is known to be bad for us but did you know that stress can also cause issues to your dental health?

Dental Issues That Can Be Caused By Stress

Poor Dental Hygiene

When a person is under stress they tend to lose focus on basic habits and this includes being diligent with maintaining their dental hygiene. If you do not take care of your dental hygiene, your dental health as well as your general health will begin to suffer. This is especially true if you already suffer from periodontal disease as skipping any part of your dental hygiene program can worsen the periodontal disease. Another issue with being under stress is your nutrition changes. Most people dealing with stress tend to develop very unhealthy eating habits. This can include snacking on larger than normal amounts of sugary foods and drinks. These changes will increase your risk for tooth decay.

A good way to combat stress in your life is to maintain a routine of regularly exercising. Exercising regularly can help you relieve some of that stress and give you an extra energy boost. Exercise will also boost your immune system which is always a plus.

Teeth Grinding (also called Bruxism)

One of the main reasons why people grind their teeth is due to stress. Bruxism can occur day or night but it is usually a subconscious act. Stress is not the only cause of bruxism but it does make it worse. Some of the dental issues associated with bruxism include:

-Headaches

-Ear Pain

-Worn Down Teeth.

-Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

-Sensitive Teeth

-Chipped or cracked teeth

-Receding gums or teeth with notches in them at the gum line

Your dentist may recommend a night guard to wear while you sleep to minimize the damage caused to your teeth. Usually, if stress is the cause the bruxism will stop when the stressor is removed.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores come in many forms. These can include:

-Canker sores. These are small ulcers with a white or grayish base and bordered in red.  There has been vigorous debate regarding what causes canker sores. Some believe it is an immune system issue, bacteria, or even a virus. Consensus is that stress can increase the risk of them showing up. Canker sores are not known to be contagious.

Canker sores generally last about 7-10 days. Spicy foods as well as highly acidic foods should be avoided as they tend to irritate the sores. One of the best forms of relief comes from a dentist prescribed medicine called Debacterol. This medicine is applied directly to the sore and can reduce symptoms as well as the length that the sores are present.

-Cold sores (or fever blisters). These sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious. Cold sores are blisters that are filled with fluid that often appear on or around the lips. They can also appear under the nose or around the chin area. Emotional stress can trigger an outbreak. Other triggers include fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.

Cold sores often heal on their own in about a week’s time. Treatment is available, including over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Ask your doctor or dentist if either could help you. It is important to start treatment as soon as you feel or notice the cold sore forming. The sooner you start treatment the effects of the cold sore will be reduced.

Periodontal Disease

Stress can lead to depression. And studies have shown that patients who are depressed have twice the risk of a poor outcome from periodontal disease treatment compared to those who are not in a depressed state. You can not make depression or the stress disappear, of course. But most experts agrees that learning healthy coping strategies can help reduce the risk of periodontal issues getting worse.  Also, people who are depressed tend to have poor overall hygiene and that includes dental hygiene.

Conclusion

Keep in mind we all have stress during the course of our day. Developing proper techniques for dealing with that stress can make a world of difference in the maintanence of our dental health as well as our overall health. As always, see your dentist regularly for dental examinations along with professional cleanings to ensure you keep your smile as healthy as can be!

Remember, eating a balanced diet, seeing your dentist regularly, and good oral hygiene help reduce your risks of periodontal disease. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss daily.



Tooth sensitivity is tooth discomfort in one or more teeth that is triggered by hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks, or even by breathing cold air. The pain can be sharp, sudden, and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.

Sensitive teeth is a very common issue for many adults in America. Sensitive teeth occur when the layer under the enamel (the dentin), or cementum (root area) of your teeth becomes exposed as a result of receding gum tissue. These unprotected surfaces, which are not covered by hard protective enamel, contain thousands of tiny tubules leading to the tooth’s nerve center (also called the pulp). These dentinal tubules allow the hot, cold, or sweet food to reach the nerve in your tooth, which results in the pain you feel.

Sensitive Teeth Home Remedies

If you develop tooth sensitivity in one or more teeth, first see your dentist for an examination to determine the cause. Then, if your sensitivity is caused by simple enamel abrasion or by gum recession, try the following home remedies for relief:

-Desensitizing Toothpaste. Unfortunately, tooth sensitivity over a wide area due to enamel abrasion or recession at the gum line usually cannot always be treated with dental fillings. Instead, it may be recommended that you try brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste. These toothpastes are available at your local drug store. These toothpastes contain ingredients that reduce tooth sensitivity by filling in the tubules in the dentin. Another good tip is to put some of the toothpaste on your finger and spread it over the sensitive spots in your mouth before you go to bed. You can spit out excess but do not rinse otherwise you will wash it off. The tooth sensitivity should be reduced over the course of a few weeks. A good toothpaste for sensitivity is Colgate sensitive Pro-relief.

-Fluoride Rinse. Stannous Fluoride rinses can help decrease sensitivity, especially for people plagued with decay issues. There are certain instances where patients need a stronger fluoride rinse than available at the local drugstore. During some periodontal disease treatment, teeth can become more sensitive than usual until the gum tissue heals. Dentists will then prescribe a higher concentration fluoride rinse to use.

-Maintain Good Dental Hygiene. Keep your teeth clean through brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Plaque, the white substance that forms on and around teeth, produces an acid that irritates teeth, especially if your teeth are naturally sensitive. It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day (preferably after eating and definitely before bed) and flossing at least once per day.

-Use a Soft Bristled Toothbrush or a Mechanical Toothbrush. Using a tooth brush that is too hard or being too aggressive while brushing can actually damage your teeth’s enamel. When the gum line recedes, the exposed dentin along the root becomes even more vulnerable to abrasion. Using a brush with soft bristles along with a gentle touch works far better in the long run. A good option is the Rotadent electric toothbrush. The Rotadent has very soft bristles and the action of the brush does all work effectively cleaning your teeth without doing any unnecessary harm.

-Decrease Acids in Your Diet. Carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, and vinegar can increase sensitivity. If you combine acids with sugar as in sour gummies, you can cause yourself hours of aching teeth.

-Be Careful of Temperature. Extreme hot or cold should be limited. If cold, use a straw. If too hot, let it cool down a bit before consumption. Never follow one temperature extreme with the other. Drinking hot coffee after ice cream is sure to increase your sensitivity dramatically.

Sensitive Teeth Conclusion

These at home remedies are to be utilized after seeing your dentist to get a full evaluation as to why your teeth are sensitive. Figuring that out should always be the first step to ensure the sensitivity is not from a tooth fracture or tooth decay. The remedies above will help resolve limited tooth sensitivity so it is not as big an issue for you and you can resume eating and drinking your favorite items.