With the current state of the country dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, stress is more prevalent with just about everyone. You may already know that stress has an impact on you both mentally and physically. But what impact does it have on your oral health? Dr. Kim Westermann, a dentist in Louisville, KY, lets you know what you might encounter.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
A frequent habit that’s brought on during stress is the tendency to grind or clench your teeth. It may happen at night while you’re sleeping, without you even realizing it. You may find yourself subconsciously doing it during the day when you’re doing random activities.
One of the indicators that let you know you have this problem is more pain in the jaw, face, or ears. Headaches become more frequent, particularly upon waking up if you’re grinding or clenching your teeth during the night. Since the pressure on your teeth is so intense, the tension may radiate down through your neck and shoulders as well.
The wear and tear on your teeth are also worse with teeth grinding and clenching. This means you’ll have an increased chance of chips, breaks, or cracks in the teeth. You can have a range from cosmetic issues to serious breaks that expose your tooth pulp.
Decreased Immune Response
One of the biggest issues with stress is that it decreases your body’s immune response. When it comes to oral health, this means that you have a higher chance of bacterial mouth infections and gum disease.
Oral bacterial infections often present themselves as ulcers or mouth sores. They can also appear as red or white lines or spots on your cheeks or gums. It’s important to make sure you rinse out your mouth with salt water frequently. Use antiseptic oral gel if you have any. Both of these can help with pain and cleaning the area.
If you notice bleeding gums or gums that are more tender than usual, these are signs of gum disease. The openings from bleeding gums allow bacteria to get into your bloodstream and to other areas of your body. The inflammation from gum disease may have more serious impacts. Your body is constantly fighting this inflammation, making it difficult for it to fight off any other infections.
Your Dentist in Louisville, Kentucky
After the pandemic is over, we’ll be here for checkups to check the condition of your smile after all of this stress. Call us or schedule an appointment online for the future. We hope to see you soon!