Stress is an everyday part of life for many people, some more than others, and the negative influence that excessive stress can have on your health is well-known and often-discussed. However, fewer people are aware of the direct effects that high levels of stress can have on your dental health, as well. Today, we explore how unhealthy levels of stress and anxiety can facilitate the destruction of your smile.
There are a few ways in which stress can affect your oral health. For instance, the preoccupation with your major stress factors can cause you to neglect important aspects of your dental hygiene, like brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day. Stress and anxiety disorders can also inhibit your immune system, which can allow bacterial infections and dental diseases to more easily destroy your oral tissues. One of the more noticeable dental symptoms of stress, however, is habitual teeth-grinding, or bruxism.
Occasionally gritting your teeth is common, especially when you’re angry, stressed, and agitated. When you do it consistently, however, it is often a sign of elevated stress and can prove detrimental to the structures of your teeth. The constant pressure and friction of grinding wear down your teeth, causing them to crack or fracture in some cases. When left untreated, bruxism can destroy your bite’s balance and damage your jaw’s components, leading to the severe discomfort of TMJ disorder.