Dental Blog

Identifying the Cause of Your Oral Health Woes

Thursday, December 20, 2018
oral-health-stress

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Are the holidays stressing you out? Take a deep breath. Stress can cause wear and tear on your body, including your mouth. Ever had a painful canker sore? Or experienced uncomfortable dry mouth? Felt the symptoms of gum disease? Or ended your day with a sore jaw from grinding your teeth? Those are clear signs you’re under stress.

Canker sores are painful sores that appear as tiny, shallow lesions that form on top of the soft tissues inside our mouths or from the base of the gums. You can also try to prevent stress-induced canker sores by lowering your anxiety levels through relaxation techniques, regular laughter, and daily exercise. People with existing canker sores should avoid spicy or acidic foods that could irritate the open wound and cause more pain. If the canker sore seems larger than normal or continues growing, you should visit your dentist and discuss your symptoms.

Have you experienced one or a combination of any of the following — dry lips, bad breath, burning or soreness in the throat, recurring mouth infections, or tooth decay? It might be due to dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to consistently keep your mouth wet. This can make eating, swallowing, and talking difficult. To help ease the symptoms of dry mouth, try sucking on sugar-free candy or ice cubes, increase your fluid intake, and avoid alcohol. If you the problem persists, you should visit your dentist.

Gum disease, also known as Periodontitis, shows up as tender, swollen, and bleeding gums. The cause is often neglecting basic hygiene habits like flossing and brushing. Over time, teeth become susceptible to bacteria that form plaque on our teeth. Plaque has the ability to harden into tartar which can not be fixed by brushing alone. If left for too long, plaque build up can become a risk factor for more serious conditions such as heart and lung diseases. A deep cleaning by your dentist can help remove any stubborn tartar that may be stuck to your teeth.

Teeth grinding happens when someone excessively clenches or grinds their teeth. The causes can vary from stress, anxiety, abnormal teeth alignment from missing or crooked teeth, and sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Teeth grinding typically occurs when people are sleeping, but stress can trigger this behavior during the day as well. The resulting effects can include headaches, muscular pain, loss of tooth structure, gum recession, loose teeth, or damage to the bone structure of the jaw. Take steps to prevent teeth grinding as much as possible to avoid wearing down your teeth and hurting your jaw. Visit your dentist to discuss your symptoms and consider a custom mouth guard to help prevent teeth grinding.

All of these stress-related oral health issues are highly avoidable. Remember to visit your dentist regularly to check out your oral care and get some rest for the holidays!