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Stress and Oral Health

Temporary stress is very common. However, chronic stress is detrimental to your health. It can make you unable to sleep, give you headaches and even harm your oral health. Many people don’t realize the dental health issues they are experiencing are connected to the stress they are under. Your dentist in South Bend can identify the issues and help you correct them while you work on reducing your stress.

How Can Chronic Stress Hurt My Dental Health?

The hormone cortisol increases during times of stress. This weakens your immune system and makes you more prone to infections, like gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, and sores. Chronic stress can also make you grind your teeth, causing dental problems and jaw issues. People can also develop more cavities as they can neglect their oral hygiene and eat comfort foods high in sugar.

What Dental Health Issues Are Caused by Persistent Stress?

Grinding Your Teeth (Bruxism)

Stress is the main reason why people grind their teeth or clench their jaw while sleeping. Most don’t even realize they are doing it, but they may notice the symptoms. These can include fractured teeth, cracked crowns or fillings, or a headache in the mornings. Clenching your jaw at night can also contribute to TMJ disorders.

TMJ Disorders

Stress can lead to temporomandibular joint disorders, known as TMJ or TMD. Clenching or grinding your teeth can lead to problems with the joints you need to open and close your mouth. If you notice your jaw is clicking or popping, or if it hurts to fully open your mouth. Contact our dentist in South Bend to arrange an appointment.

Poor Oral Hygiene

When you’re under stress, brushing and flossing can be the last thing you are worried about. Nevertheless, you have to keep up with your dental hygiene or you could develop cavities or gingivitis. Dental issues will just be one more thing to stress about.


Stress depletes your immune system’s ability to fight infections of the gums, like gingivitis. Your body loses its ability to fight the bacteria in plaque, which will irritate your gums. If left untreated, you could develop a more serious form of gum disease. It also increases your chances of developing cold or canker sores. Most canker sores eventually go away on their own, but they can cause discomfort when eating. If a canker sore does not go away in a few weeks, please contact us to make an appointment with our dentist in South Bend.

What Can I Do for My Dental Health When I’m Stressed?

Stress can take a toll on your teeth. Be sure to keep brushing and flossing daily and keep your appointments for regular dental exams and teeth cleanings. Also, avoid sugary drinks and snacks that you may be tempted to consume in times of stress. These things will keep your mouth healthy; having a cavity can add to your stress.

How Can I Reduce My Stress Symptoms?

You priority should be identifying your stressors. Eliminate those that you can and find relaxing ways to reduce your stress. Everyone is different; some people find exercise, listening to music or spending time with their pet helpful. See our dentist in South Bend for help with any stress-related dental issues and he or she will address them. Call us today to make an appointment. There are easy and effective treatments we can suggest that will ease your symptoms.

What Can a Dentist Do About Teeth Grinding?

You should see a dentist for regular exams. Many people under persistent stress grind their teeth at night and don’t even realize it. Our dentist can recognize the signs, like a chipped tooth or a cracked crown, and will ask you about your stress levels. He or she can repair any damage and fit you for a custom night guard. This will cushion your teeth and help stop more damage. When the night guard is made specifically for you, and not off the shelf, it will be more comfortable. This means you will be more likely to wear it.

How Can a Dentist Manage Pain from Stress Symptoms?

If you’re in pain from stress symptoms, talk to our dentist in South Bend. You can get recommendations for OTC anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy, and other suggestions based on your symptoms. Sometimes, a night guard will ease your jaw pain.

How Can I Take Care of Myself to Avoid Stress Related Dental Issues?

Keep taking good care of your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and dental exams. Eat healthy and avoid sugary foods and beverages. This will help both your mouth and your body. Don’t turn to smoking or drinking alcohol, as these things may increase your stress. Plus, they are not good for your dental health.

If you need help with dental issues caused by repeated stress, our dentist in South Bend can treat any damage done. He or she will also urge to to manage your stress and help find ways for you to avoid future problems. Contact our office today to make an appointment.

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