The Connection Between Emotional & Dental Health

Ask any working adult and they’d probably agree that the world can sometimes be a very stressful place. With so much chaos integrated into the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it is no surprise that so many people suffer from stress. And while stress is a necessary component of our human drive to survive, too much can be harmful. The negative effects on human health caused by excessive stress are well-documented – everything from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, obesity, depression, and gastrointestinal issues can all be caused or exacerbated by stress to name only a few. However, many people don’t realize that too much stress can also have a negative impact on your dental health as well.

If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with a sore jaw or a pounding headache, then you may be clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth in your sleep, a common symptom of excessive stress. This condition, known in the dental profession as Bruxism, can cause significant damage in the long term if not addressed early. Over time, grinding of the teeth can wear down your enamel, leaving you far more susceptible to tooth and sensitivity. In serious cases, it can even cause permanent damage to the jaw and pre-existing dental work, leading to expensive and painful corrective procedures. Teeth grinding has also been linked to facial myalgia, tinnitus, sinus pains, stiff neck & shoulders, and intense headaches – in fact, people who grind their teeth are three time more likely to develop chronic migraines than people who do not. However, this isn’t the only way that stress and other emotional factors can affect your dental health.

Among its other negative side effects on human health, chronic stress is also notorious for the havoc it wreeks on the immune system. Crippled by a weakened immune response, your body becomes more vulnerable to infections like gingivitis and periodontitis. Without proper dental hygiene, the bacteria that reside in all of our mouths can begin to accumulate and harden into tartar which cause inflammation, sensitivity, and bleeding of the gums. If untreated, these infections can result in irreparable damage to the bone, gums, and other tissue that support the teeth. In many advanced cases, teeth themselves will need to be removed. The exact cause of canker sores is unclear, but many studies have linked them to stress as well.

So does your emotional health really affect your dental health? Absolutely. The more stress you experience, the more likely you are to experience dental problems also. Fortunately, these issues can be avoided. If you’re feeling particularly, it is more important than ever to engage in regular dental hygiene such as brushing and flossing, drinking plenty of water, and choosing healthy foods. Also, do whatever you can do relax! A calm and happy mind means a happy and healthy body. However, problems sometimes occur no matter what, so if you need anything from a routine cleaning to a cosmetic procedure, contact Union Dental today!

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