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Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress can arise from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.

Too much stress is known to play a role in our overall health but did you know that stress can also cause issues to your smile?

Stress Induced Dental Health Issues

Poor Dental Hygiene

When a person is under a lot of stress they tend to lose focus on basic habits and this can include maintaining optimal dental hygiene. If you do not take care of your dental hygiene on a daily basis, your dental health along with your overall health will begin to suffer and consequences can develop. This is especially important if you already have an issue with periodontal disease. Neglecting any part of your dental hygiene regimen can cause your periodontal disease to worsen. Another issue that can occur from stress is changes to your nutrition. Most people under heavy stress tend to develop very unhealthy eating habits. This can include frequent snacking on greater quantities than normal of sugary foods and drinks. These dietary changes will increase the risk of tooth decay.

An excellent way to defend against stress in your life is to regularly exercise. Maintaining a regular exercise schedule can help you relieve some of that built up stress and give you an extra energy boost to fight back. Exercise will also boost your immune system which will keep you stronger and healthier over the long haul.

Teeth Grinding (also referred to as Bruxism)

A main factor for people who grind their teeth is due to stress. Bruxism or teeth grinding can occur any time of day or night but it is usually an act we are unaware we are doing. Stress is not the sole cause of bruxism but it can make it worse. Dental issues associated with bruxism can include:

-Headaches

-Pain In Ears

-Wearing down of teeth.

-Temporo mandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

Sensitive Teeth

-Chipped or cracked teeth

Receding gums or teeth with notches along the gum line

Your dentist following a thorough examination may recommend a night guard to wear while you sleep to minimize the damage to your teeth. Generally, if stress is the root cause the bruxism will stop when the stressor(s) are removed.

Sores In The Oral Cavity

Mouth sores come in multiple forms. These forms can include:

-Canker sores. These are tiny ulcers with a white or grayish base and a red border.  There has been extensive debate among scientists regarding what is the root cause of canker sores. Some believe it is an immune system deficiency, bacteria, or even an underlying virus. The consensus belief is that stress can increase the risk of them appearing. Canker sores are not believed to be contagious.

Canker Sores Marielaina Perrone DDS

Canker sores generally last about a week to ten days. Spicy foods along with highly acidic foods should be avoided as they may irritate the sores. Your dentist can recommend a prescribed medicine called Debacterol. This prescription medicine is applied directly to the mouth sore and can reduce symptoms as well as thetime that the sores are present in the mouth.

-Cold sores (also called fever blisters). This type of sore is caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious. These sores are blisters that are filled with fluid that often appear on or around the lips. They are also seen under the nose or around the chin area. Emotional stress can trigger these sores to develop. Other triggers for these sores include fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.

Cold sores generally heal on their own in about 7 days time. Many treatments are available for relief, including over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Talk to your doctor or dentist if these medications could help you. It is imperative to start treatment as soon as you feel or visually notice the cold sore forming. The sooner you begin treatment the effects of the cold sore can be decreased.

Periodontal Disease (also Known as Gum Disease)

Stress can often lead to depression. Scientific studies have shown that patients who are dealing with depression have 2 times the risk of poor treatment outcomes from periodontal disease treatment compared to those who are not depressed. Most doctors agree that learning healthy strategies to cope with bouts of depression can help reduce the risk of periodontal issues getting worse.  Also, people who are in a depressed state tend to have poor overall hygiene including dental hygiene.

Stress Conclusion

Remember, we all have events that trigger stress during our daily lives. Development of techniques to deal with stress can make a marked difference in the maintanence of our dental health as well as our overall general health. As always, see your dentist for regular dental examinations along with professional cleanings to ensure you can keep your smile looking and feeling as healthy as can be!

Reminder:

-Eat a balanced diet

-Regular Dental Visits

and good oral hygiene help reduce your risks of periodontal disease. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss daily.



Teeth grinding or bruxism can be a common occurrence at one time or another for many adults. In fact, it is actually more common in children. It is believed that about 30% of all children grind or clench their teeth. Luckily, most kids usually move past grinding or clenching by the time they are a teenager.

Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth?

Kids grind their teeth for similar reasons that adults do. Below you will find a list of the most common causes:

Stress.

-Jaw Growth.

-Response To Pain (earache or toothache).

Malocclusion.

-Result Of Losing Teeth.

Allergies.

How To Tell If Your Child Is A Teeth Grinder?

Many children who grind their teeth in their sleep have no idea they are doing it. In fact, upon waking in the morning they feel no jaw, facial, neck, or shoulder pain. It is usually a parent or sibling who notices it first. However, some children will experience some or all of the symptoms listed above.

What Can Teeth Grinding Do To Your Child’s Dental Health?

Teeth grinding can cause a host of dental complications including:

-Fractured Teeth.

-Abnormal Wear To Crowns Of Teeth.

-Increased Temperature Sensitivity.

-Gum Tissue Recession.

-Jaw Misalignment.

Treatment For Teeth Grinding

Treatment usually includes close monitoring of a child’s teeth grinding. If the teeth grinding continues then a custom made mouthguard may be necessary to protect the teeth from further damage. If the grinding is from stress it is important to talk to your children to see what might be bothering them. Stress induced bruxism can be avoided, however, by talking with kids regularly about their feelings and helping them deal with stress.

Bruxism Conclusion

If you notice your child is grinding his/her teeth bring them in for a complete dental evaluation with your dentist. This will ensure there is no damage and give you the ability to coordinate a good plan going forward.




As we age many changes occur in our bodies including our teeth. Our teeth shift and move over time due to many forces that we control and ones we do not. These forces include tongue movements, lips pushing against our teeth, and how our teeth come together. Below we will review some of these forces in greater detail.

Forces Attempting To Move Our Teeth

-Tongue Habits. The most common is an abnormal tongue thrust. Our tongue places pressure on our teeth through eating, swallowing, and talking. We do not even realize how often our tongue presses against our teeth. If you swallow, you will realize that your tongue presses against your upper teeth. For most of us, this is not an issue but for others with a powerful tongue thrust, this can cause tooth movement over time.

-Lip Habits. The forces that your lips apply to your teeth can actually cause your teeth to move.  A good example is tucking your lower lip behind your upper teeth.  This is especially common in younger children and people who bite their lips when they get nervous. The forces over time can cause those teeth to shift outward.

-Frenum Issues. The frena is the attachment between your lips and tongue to the gum tissues attached to the teeth. The one on the inside by your tongue is called a lingual frenum. The other two are on the inside of your lips and called a labial frenum. The lingual frenum generally does not affect the teeth but can affect eating, speech, and swallowing as it can constrict tongue movement. The labial frenum can play a part in moving the front two teeth apart. To alleviate this your dentist or oral surgeon can remove the labial frenum surgically.

-Forces From Our Teeth. Our teeth are in a constant state of pressure from each other.  Normally when you bite together, your teeth touch and rest in a certain position.  This position is known as centric occlusion.  Normally, the top teeth oppose the bottom teeth and keep them in line. However, if you lose a tooth or a tooth becomes badly damaged from trauma or tooth decay space opens up. The teeth on either side of the lost tooth move, as will the tooth that opposes it. For example, if you lost a lower tooth, the tooth on the upper jaw that normally hits it would start to grow down slightly to fill in the space and the adjacent teeth to the lost tooth would start to lean in towards the empty gap.

-Genetics. Our body is hardwired with a set of instructions and our genetics determine if our teeth will be straight or not.

Tooth Decay. If left untreated, your tooth will eventually break down changing its shape and size. This will open space up causing our teeth to shift into that space. Also, a tooth restored improperly can also change the tooth’s relationship to the other teeth causing changes as well.

-Age. As we age, the area between the teeth starts to wear away. When this happens, the enamel begins to thin out. And, because the lower teeth are inherently thinner, they wear out faster. The more wear and tear on the lower teeth, the less able they are to withstand the force of the top teeth when biting down, resulting in shifting.

-Teeth Grinding (Bruxism). Teeth grinding forces the lower jaw forward and puts tension on the upper teeth. The continual thrusting affects the position of the upper arch, pushing it out of alignment.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different forces that are constantly acting on your teeth that could cause them to move. It is important to treat those forces that you can control. See your dentist if you feel your teeth are shifting to avoid future issues.



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.