Spotlight on Holistic Dentistry: 4 Ways Stress Can Hurt Your Oral Health
Stress has been proven to break down our resistance to disease. The nervous system, digestive organs, and heart feel the brunt of your worries. You get headaches, stomachaches, wrinkles, and grey hair. But you probably never realized just how greatly stress can impact your oral health too. In holistic dentistry, the focus is on the whole body, not just your teeth. For holistic dentists, your stress level is relevant. Even if you are reluctant to admit to feeling anxious or overwhelmed, your teeth and gums tell a different story.
There are plenty of problems that can occur in your mouth because of stress, but some of the most common oral health side effects of worrying include:
- Damaged tooth enamel
Whether you bite your nails or crunch ice, nervous habits like these can put stress on your teeth. The result? Enamel erosion and even broken teeth. Restorative dentistry solutions like porcelain crowns may be necessary to correct the damage that has been done.
- Dry mouth
Saliva production is extremely important to good oral health. Your mouth needs to remain moist and have a healthy combo of thick and thin saliva to ward off bacteria and decay and the need for mercury-free tooth fillings. Elevated stress hormones and certain medications (ironically, often those meds used to combat anxiety or stress) can decrease saliva production.
- TMJ problems
Grinding your teeth while you sleep is not uncommon in times of great stress. This unconscious habit can lead to so many problems: gum recession, worn tooth enamel, headaches, facial soreness, and, of course, TMJ issues. Grinding and clenching is known as sleep bruxism. A custom-fit mouth guard can protect your teeth from each other. In some cases, patients want to eliminate the problem entirely and opt for tooth and jaw alignment through orthodontic treatment like Invisalign braces.
- Cavities and gum disease
How can stress cause you to get a cavity? You may eat poorly because of worry, which means your mouth will be bathed in extra sugar from sweets or heavy carbs. You may neglect your oral health because of stress, forgetting to brush or neglecting to floss regularly. You may push your bi-annual exam and teeth cleaning at your Fort Lauderdale dentist because you’re too busy and overwhelmed. Any of these behaviors is considered poor oral hygiene, and the results can be cavities and, if your teeth go for too long without professional attention, gum disease.
Combat Your Stress with a Visit to Your Fort Lauderdale Dentist
Everyone has their own unique reaction to stress but, in many cases, your teeth suffer the consequences of your worry. If your biggest concern about addressing your oral health problems comes from having a fear of the dentist, there is a way to overcome such a problem. At Fort Lauderdale Dentistry, we practice anxiety-free dentistry. IV sedation makes it possible for you to weather any of your dental appointments and sail through major restorations or cosmetic procedures.
Your teeth, gums, and overall oral health are essential to your total well-being. Allow Dr. Yolanda Cintron and her kind and gentle staff give you the repairs you need to combat the side effects of your daily stress. And, hey, in the process you may just learn to relax a little. Contact our Fort Lauderdale dental office to make an appointment.