Stress. We all experience it. It is the source of anguish, sleepless nights and, in severe cases, can affect our health.
There are many possible causes of stress, including our jobs, family, significant life events and health concerns, to name just a few.
Did you know…?
…the top five most stressful jobs in 2018 were identified as:
- Financial services
- Local and national government (though in the current climate you would be forgiven for thinking this may now take the top spot!)
- Professional services and education
Can stress impact on my oral health?
Studies have shown that increased stress levels are associated with poorer oral health. In general, those who are stressed will pay less attention to their daily dental routines. However, this can spark a chain of events that results in greater plaque accumulation in the mouth. This has the potential to lead to gum disease and dental decay, which could provide further sources of stress in the future.
Stress has also been linked to dry mouth. You will likely have experienced this before a job interview, first date or a test of some kind. Your body stops producing enough saliva and you need a glass of water to alleviate the symptoms. If this happens regularly, the risk of developing gum disease increases.
Another dental consequence of stress is tooth grinding, or bruxism. This can occur when you’re awake or asleep. The latter makes it more difficult to diagnose, as you won’t always know if you’re doing it! Typical symptoms include headaches, unexplainable facial aches or pains, and soreness in the jaw, neck or ears. You may also notice a change in shape of your teeth – which could become worn away and flat at the ends. If the muscles of the jaw and neck clench as well, this can lead to problems in the joint connecting the jaw to the skull (temporomandibular joint or TMJ).
The most important course of action is to eliminate, or at least reduce, the source of stress. Your team at BPI Dental can also help you look after your teeth and gums. Firstly, we can provide the advice and support you need to create and maintain an effective dental routine at home. We can guide you on which products would be most suitable for you and help you get the very most from them. For those who grind their teeth, we can provide mouth guards to wear when sleeping to protect the teeth from damage. In doing so, we will be able to help you avoid further dental complications that could cause you yet more stress.
Once everything is under control, our team at BPI Dental can provide treatments to help restore your mouth to its former glory. Where teeth have been worn away, we can build them back up with composite to give you a beautiful smile once again. Where there are signs of gum disease we can help you halt the condition in its tracks.
Ultimately, we’re here to help you combat the signs of stress and retain a healthy mouth for years to come. April brings with it Stress Awareness Month – take this opportunity to evaluate what causes you stress and reduce it wherever you can for the good for your health.