Ways stress can affect your oral health

There are countless links between stress and health. High stress can have an effect on your overall physical health, and more specifically, your oral health. Some signs stress may be affecting your oral health include experiencing dry mouth, mouth sores, jaw clenching and teeth grinding.  

Dry mouth 

When the body experiences stress, salvia production is usually reduced. This leads to dry mouth, which can cause multiple oral health issues such as plague build-up, cavities, gum disease and tooth decay. Salvia is important in helping fight plaque, bacteria and food particles away from teeth. Salvia also re-mineralizes tooth enamel, helping to strengthen teeth and prevent decay. Drinking water and chewing gum can help increase salvia production if one is experiencing dry mouth.   

Mouth sores 

When under stress, the likelihood of developing cold sores and canker sores increases. Cold sores, caused by the herpes simplex virus, typically remain inactive unless provoked by stress. They can make brushing and flossing more difficult or painful. Canker sores are small mouth ulcers triggered by acidic foods, smoking, cheek biting, aggressive tooth brushing or stress. To prevent canker sores from developing, find ways to manage stress, pay attention to brushing habits and remain conscience of eating habits.  

Teeth grinding and jaw clenching  

Both teeth grinding and jaw clenching can be triggered by stress. Teeth grinding is the action of clenching or grinding one’s teeth while awake or asleep. Jaw clenching is the action of tightening the muscles surrounding the teeth and jaw. Both conditions can cause mouth pain, tooth damage and difficulty chewing. Try using a warm compress and completing muscle relaxing exercises to combat teeth grinding and jaw clenching.  

Take a step to improve your oral health by booking a cleaning with Jackson Dental. Call (573) 243-5200 or stop by our office at 3100 E Jackson Blvd., Jackson, Mo., and we’ll get you scheduled!