Manage Stress to Prevent Common Dental Health Disasters
Mental stress is a normal part of life, but when your stress level becomes too high, it can harm every part of your body. You may only associate stress with headaches or muscle tension, but it can actually lead to canker sores, tooth decay, nighttime tooth-grinding, unhealthy eating patterns, and obsessive behaviors like nail-biting or chewing pens and pencils. Dentists can help alleviate the consequences of stress, but you can prevent problems before they start. Try these tips for dealing with stress-related mouth problems.
Identifying Oral Sores
Canker sores are small, painful, ulcerated areas with a white or gray base and a red border. Most resolve within 10 days, but over-the-counter anesthetics containing benzocaine can reduce symptoms. Cold sores or fever blisters are fluid-filled blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus. They usually occur on or near your lips, and they’re very contagious. Cold sores will heal without treatment, but over-the-counter medicines and prescription antiviral drugs can hasten recovery.
How to Know if You’re Grinding Your Teeth
Bruxism, or nighttime tooth grinding, is a common stress-related behavior. You may not even be aware that you’re grinding your teeth because most people do it unconsciously. But dentists can tell if you’re grinding your teeth, because left untreated, the habit can lead to painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or worn tooth enamel. Affordable dentists may recommend a custom night guard or similar device to prevent damage to your teeth and jaw.
What Affordable Dentists Recommend to Combat Gum Disease
Dentists know that stress can lead to depression, which can cause you to neglect your oral hygiene and develop gum disease or make existing inflammation worse. Periodontal disease affects more than your teeth; it increases your risk of serious health problems like cardiovascular disease. To keep your gums healthy, you should maintain strict oral hygiene, choose healthy foods, and exercise to reduce stress.
Affordable Dentists Can Help You Stay Healthy
Fortunately, there are practical strategies to help you manage stress including meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and anti-anxiety medications. If stress is affecting your ability to care for your teeth or your general health, ask your doctor or dentist about treatment options.
To learn about our family dentistry practice in Warren, call Gentle Dental of Warren today at (586) 933-5516 or make an appointment.