With the COVID-19 crisis sweeping across the country, Americans are under more stress than usual. This has an impact on both mind and body. But do you know the impact of stress on your oral health? Dr. David Rever, a dentist in Silver Spring, MD, lets you know what you should watch out for with increased stress.
Grinding and Clenching Your Teeth
Even if you didn’t have this problem before, stress is likely to lead to grinding or clenching your teeth becoming a habit. This can lead to headaches and pain and tension throughout your jaw, face, ears, and neck.
However, having more stress on your teeth also means they’re more likely to crack, chip, or break. This can be anything from a small cosmetic chip to a serious, painful break that exposes the pulp of your tooth. In this instance, we would consider it a dental emergency and you’ll need restorative dentistry. Call us immediately, as we’re still offering emergency care during the pandemic.
A TMJ disorder can be caused by severe grinding and clenching of your teeth, as well as jaw misalignment. You’ll experience the pain and other symptoms of teeth grinding, in addition to some issues with jaw function. Your jaw may pop and click when you’re using it. You could have issues opening and closing your jaw, as well as difficulty doing things like chewing and talking.
Since you’re in isolation, try massage techniques and exercises that you can do at home. If you have a partner or family member with you, they may be able to help. When the pandemic is over, we can see you in our office. We’ll assist with a treatment plan that can give you the more permanent relief you need.
Decreased Immune Response
One of the most serious consequences of stress is a decreased immune response. This makes you more susceptible to gum disease and other infections. For instance, you may notice ulcers and sores in your mouth. This is due to a stress-induced infection. You can help remedy these with oral antiseptic gel and making sure the area stays cleaned with warm salt water rinses.
If you notice your gums bleeding or becoming more tender, you may be developing gum disease. With bleeding gums, the bacteria from the infection can get in your bloodstream and get to other places in your body. The inflammation from gum disease is a problem as well. Your body focuses on fighting the inflammation, giving less attention to other issues that may be plaguing it.
Your Dentist in Silver Spring, Maryland
When the pandemic is over, we’ll be ready to help you out with a checkup to make sure the stress hasn’t damaged your smile. Call us or schedule an appointment online for the future. We hope to see you soon!