We have heard of work-life balance and how stress can affect our mental and physical health. But how does work-related stress or daily stress affect our oral health?
A strong correlation has been proven between constant high stress levels and oral health.
At ConfiDent we have met a lot of patients that work in the financial industry and in high-pressured work environments where they don’t sleep or rest enough.
This uneven work-life-balance can lead to anxiety and stress. In some extreme cases this could trigger jaw clenching, grinding teeth and even soft tissue problems such as receding gums for instance.
So why do people start clenching and grinding when facing a stressful situation?
Our natural body response to a tense situation is accompanied by the release of stress hormones. As soon as these hormones go into the bloodstream, they control all the body functions, including facial and jaw muscles.
If you are stressed for a long period of time, your face and jaw muscles can remain contracted or partially contracted. This leads to grinding, clenching, and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD).
Effects and symptoms of continuous emotional strain that we’ve seen in a number of our patients are:
Temporomandibular joints disorder (TMJD)
Soft tissue problems
Teeth clenching and grinding leads often to broken or chipped teeth
Canker sores are a result of high levels of stress and a low immune system.
They appear as small spots with a white or greyish base and red borders in the oral cavity. Sores have to complete a cycle of 7 to 10 days to disappear completely. Your dentist can advise special remedies and instructions, as they can get quite uncomfortable and painful.
But you don’t have to wait that long to get rid of the pain, we at ConfiDent can help with immediate pain relief using laser technology.
Over-brushing, applying too hard pressure, or using the wrong toothbrush can cause severe damage to your teeth and your gums.
If you notice receding gums, bleeding or sore soft tissues, we strongly advise you to see our specialist in order to avoid a progressive clinical situation with possible involvement of bone loss around your teeth.
Learn how to get rid of such bad habits when speaking to our dental hygienist during an Oral Hygiene Instructions session.
Acid reflux is another common effect caused by stress, it usually involves bad eating habits. Did you ever get that feeling of acidic burning up your throat?
That is acid reflux which can cause damage to your teeth and which gets often unnoticed as the first signs of these so-called ‘erosions’ (loss of tooth surface/enamel) are seen from the backside of your teeth only. Your dentist will detect these erosions straight away and can advise how to prevent further damage. Besides the erosions acidity has also the tendency to cause bad breath.
All the above can be avoided by maintaining a healthy and balanced state of mind; exercising, eat healthily, and spend time with your family and pets.
To ease existing irritation, avoid eating spicy, hot foods or anything with a high acid content, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits. Try to cut back on smoking and replace the coffee with certain teas instead.
If any severe clenching or canker sores occur, the ConfiDent Team is there to help you with a professional checkup and recommendations.
If you would like to get a full dental analysis - Contact our expert team today.
Secondary source educational information gathered by the author.
About ConfiDent ® Palm Dental Clinic.
State-of-the-art restorative and cosmetic dental practice awarded Leading Implant Center in GCC and the Middle East.
Our premium class practice uses sophisticated and precision-engineered German-made technology that helps us to perform all treatments at the highest level.
ConfiDent® Dental Surgery Clinic is located right in the center of the Palm Jumeirah, inside the Golden Mile Galleria Mall, building 8 on the mezzanine floor.