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Emotional Health and Your Mouth

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 5.15.30 PMIt might seem like brushing and flossing should be all you need to do to keep your teeth in top shape. While good dental hygiene is important, it's not enough to ensure strong teeth that last a lifetime. Keeping your entire body balanced is essential--and that includes keeping your emotions in check, too. Stress and Dental Health

When you are constantly under pressure, whether it is at work or at home, your entire body suffers. According to the American Psychological Association, stress wears down your immune system. Even a short duration of a few days or weeks can be enough to weaken your immune system, and chronic stress has the potential to ravage it.

What does the immune system have to do with dental health? Your mouth is inhabited by a few hundred different species of bacteria. Some of these are beneficial to digestion and some are completely harmless. Others, however, can lead to dental decay and even periodontal disease. When your immune system has been compromised by stress, it becomes less able to fight against the bad bacteria leaving you more susceptible to cavities and gum disease.

Gaining Control of Your Health

A regular brushing and flossing routine combined with twice-a-year visits with your dentist are the best way to combat tooth decay and gum disease. However, give your dental care routine a boost by keeping your stress levels down so your immune system can do its part in keeping your mouth healthy. Here are a few tips for keeping your cool.

Other complications caused by stress may be:

  • Jaw Pain. Clenching or grinding your teeth when stressed can lead to more serious problems like temporomanibular joint disorder, commonly known as TMJ.
  • Canker Sores. These annoying and painful lesions generally occur inside the mouth and are not contagious. They also may be triggered by high levels of stress.
  • Gum Disease. University researchers have found that those at the greatest risk for gum disease were those who were highly emotional in dealing with various problems at home, work, or with finances.

While oral care may be low on your list of concerns, neglecting your mouth during periods of trauma can lead to more health issues down the road.

If you're concerned about damage to your teeth, schedule an appointment and we'll be happy to assess.