You’ve decided to work on improving your oral health, as a New Year resolution. Of course, we all know that sugar is bad for our teeth, but did you know that stress plays a part in your oral health as well? Stress is often associated with grinding your teeth, canker sores, and other problems that originate in the mouth. By reducing stress, you can move closer to improving your oral health. Follow these steps to get your stress and dental health where they should be.
Bruxism is habitual grinding of teeth. It can happen when you’re deep in concentration, or when you’re sleeping. Over time the tension in your jaw can wear down your teeth. You’ll be more prone to chips, cracks, and cavities. Additionally, this can stress your jaw joint. Injuries to this area can be extremely painful.
Other effects of stress
The other main effect of stress on the mouth is stress sores. Stress tongue sores, stress sores on lips, and so on can be very painful and embarrassing. When stress sores on lips pop up, they can resemble much more serious infections. Stress blisters on the lips may be made worse by using chap stick and other conventional measures.
These sores are unsightly and painful, but they could also be dangerous. Your mouth is always full of bacteria. Your gums and tongue are usually well protected against infection. When you have open sores in your mouth, it greatly increases the risk that bacteria can enter your bloodstream. Many serious infections of the blood or other organs get started in the mouth.
If you have trouble with clenching your jaw, practice frequent relaxation techniques. Physically releasing the tension during the day, often helps to ease your pain. You can even try some yoga positions to help, as well as specific jaw stretches. At night, however, your jaw is beyond your control. A bite guard can protect your jaw.
While relaxation helps you to see results quickly, sores in your mouth, brought on by stress, take longer to heal. When stress causes a canker sore to bloom, it doesn’t shrink just because you calm down. The best thing you can do is try to work out your stress another way. Some physical exertion helps in redirecting your stress; you can also change your daily routine to give you more relaxation time. Spend some time talking to a friend or a therapist, or keep a journal of your anxieties. Anything that will help you manage your anxiety will be useful here.
Relaxation will help avoid the return of sores. To take care of the ones you already have, rinse your mouth with warm salt water twice a day. Gently rinsing will protect your tissue. It will also help kill the bacteria that are causing your infection. Make managing stress and oral health a priority for two weeks, and you should see your stress mouth sores radically diminish—or entirely vanish.
Staying on top of stress and oral health is a must. Take care of any stress mouth sores you have already and strive to avoid them in the future. By working on relaxation, you can get rid of stress canker sores and bruxism at the same time.
Contact Dr. Washburn and his staff to learn more about the impact stress has on your teeth!