Did you know that stress has such an effect on your oral health that it can cause you to lose teeth?
For most adults, stress is virtually unavoidable, and it has an effect on most parts of our lives. From overall health to the health of your teeth, the effects of being overly stressed can have dire consequences for your well-being. Explore how stress can wreak havoc on your teeth, the specific conditions that are caused by stress, and some ways that you can manage your stress levels.
What Makes People’s Lives so Stressful?
With the family and career obligations facing most American adults, stress can derive from a wide variety of sources. Some people live in constant stress over their job situation, others worry a lot about money or their relationships. In many cases, minimizing stress will require an active effort on the part of the patient. Doing this can reduce damage to the teeth and other aspects of their health.
The General Impact of Stress On Your Teeth
Just last year, Demi Moore made headlines as she talked about losing her two front teeth due to stress, which sparked a lot of curiosity in people who didn’t know it was possible. The fact is, stress has a massive effect on almost all aspects of your health, and yes, it can lead to tooth loss. Dr. Janet Zaiff, DDS explains that it’s not the well-known, monumental effects of stress that take a toll on your teeth, but the smaller more subtle ones.
Subtle Damage Leads to Severe Consequences
When asked about the impact of stress on the teeth, Dr. Janet Zaiff explained how it’s the subtle effects of stress that lead to small changes, which set the tone for more permanent damage. For example, Dr. Zaiff explains how a stressful, negative mindset can actually change the oral flora in your mouth. This can directly cause gum disease which potentially leads to tooth loss. That’s but one example of how the seemingly small effects of stress can lead to severe dental problems.
Dental Conditions that Are Caused By Stress
While stress has an effect on the teeth in general, it also is a direct cause of certain dental conditions. Learn more about the dental problems that can be brought on by excess stress.
Do you know the feeling of grinding your teeth when you’re nervous? Many people grind their teeth sometimes, but there are serious consequences for those who grind them often, especially in their sleep. In addition to stimulants like nicotine, stress can aggravate the symptoms of bruxism and can even cause the condition in the first place. Bruxism can lead to discomfort and damage to the teeth’s enamel, so it’s important to manage stress to avoid damage to your teeth.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that attaches the jaw to the skull and various disorders can cause discomfort in that area. These disorders are collectively called TMJ disorders or TMD, and they can be caused by stress and grinding your teeth. TMJ syndrome results in pain in the jaw and surrounding area and can interfere with speaking and other daily functions. Reducing stress is an excellent way to minimize symptoms of TMJ disorders.
How To Reduce Stress in a Healthy Way
While some people who are excessively stressed out may look to alcohol, binge eating, and other unhealthy habits to manage their tension, these are not sustainable solutions, and in fact, they can easily lead to more problems down the road. Luckily, there are perfectly healthy ways of cutting down your stress level and avoiding the dental problems that come with a high-stress lifestyle.
Tips for Reducing Stress
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Actively try to develop a positive mindset
- Maintain relationships with positive people
- Don’t let things that you can’t control upset you
- Set smart, realistic goals
- Practice yoga or meditation
- Ensure that you get quality sleep
- Start a fitness routine
Manage Your Stress for a Healthier Life and Smile
Stress can be positive or negative, but too much of it can take a toll on your health. If you consider yourself overstressed, it’s strongly recommended to find ways to destress your life before it affects your teeth or other parts of your body. A visit to Dentistry of Nashville can confirm whether your teeth have suffered any substantial damage. Contact us today for your next exam or to see what we can do about any damage you’ve sustained to your oral health.