With the COVID-19 crisis that’s spread across the world, stress levels are naturally higher than normal. Stress can cause issues with both our mental and physical health. But what impact does it have directly on our oral health? Dr. Jim D. Lassiter, a dentist in Milton, FL, lets you know what you should be on the lookout for.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Teeth grinding and clenching is a habit that often comes with stress, even if it wasn’t a problem you had before. You may notice yourself doing it throughout the day without realizing it. Many times, teeth grinding or clenching happens overnight, so you don’t even know you’re doing it.
The first sign you notice may be an aching pain throughout your jaw, often on one side. This is because it’s probably the side that you’re grinding on. Symptoms may also include pain throughout your face and ears. Clenching your teeth causes a lot of tension and that may show up throughout your neck and shoulders. Particularly if you’re grinding your teeth at night, you may have headaches upon waking up.
Another problem with teeth grinding and clenching is the amount of stress it puts on your teeth. At the very least, you’ll notice wear and tear faster. However, it may also lead to chipped or broken teeth. Cosmetic chips aren’t a huge problem and can be easily fixed with dental bonding. However, if you have a severe break or crack that exposes the tooth pulp and nerves, it can be very painful. This is considered a dental emergency and you should call us immediately.
Decreased Immune Response
One of the most problematic side effects of stress, particularly during a pandemic, is a decreased immune response. But how does this impact your oral health? For starters, it makes you at a higher risk for gum disease. This causes symptoms like swollen and inflamed gums, as well as bleeding gums.
Those bleeding gums mean that openings are created in them. This allows the bacteria from the gum infection, as well as other oral bacteria, into your bloodstream. It can go throughout the body, causing problems in other areas.
But what may be even more problematic is the constant inflammation of the gum disease. Since the inflammation is constant, your body is always sending resources to try and fight it. This leaves your body more susceptible to other conditions, as it has fewer resources to fight those off. Be it an infection or a virus, your overall immune system is made even weaker by the gum disease.
Your Dentist in Milton, Florida
We’re ready to treat any impact that stress has on your oral health after the pandemic restriction suggestions are eased. Call us or schedule an appointment online for the future!