Have you felt stressed or overwhelmed lately? You likely know that stress can lead to adverse conditions in your overall well-being. But stress can prove detrimental to your oral health as well.
High stress levels can not only negatively impact your dental health; you might even be able to see aesthetic issues develop in your smile as well. This change in your smile’s appearance may lead to a blow in your confidence.
The better you understand behaviors linked to stress that could cause these effects in your smile, the better you can better prevent them. Talk to your dentist to discover details about how stress can affect your smile. And read on to learn about three stress-related habits that could leave you with cosmetic dental damage if you are not careful.
Overconsumption of Beverages That Stain Teeth
Increased stress can disrupt your sleep schedule. If you wake up feeling groggy, you may turn to caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee for an energy boost to get you through your busy schedule.
However, coffee and tea contain tannins, substances that give these beverages their dark color. Tannins will transfer to your teeth and absorb into the enamel over time. With prolonged consumption, you may notice dark stains forming in your smile that do not go away with your usual oral hygiene regimen.
You can lower your risk for this form of staining by sipping through a straw, diluting your beverage, increasing your frequency of professional teeth cleanings, and by using an electric toothbrush. However, these methods will not eliminate the risk entirely.
So pay attention to your smile to learn if consuming these beverages is harming your dental esthetic. If you notice stains on your smile, ask your dentist about teeth whitening solutions that can brighten your tooth color.
Gingivitis and Inflammation
Proteins in the saliva play an important role in how bacteria adhere to the tooth surface. Under repeated chronic stress conditions, the nervous system function causes changes in the composition and amount of saliva, which in turn is associated with increased dental plaque. In other words, an increase in stress can increase the amount of plaque that builds up on your teeth. This can lead to an increase in cavities or gum disease, both of which require professional dental treatment.
Stress hormones, such as cortisol, have even been found to contribute to gum disease and its progression. Stress levels impact the way that your body heals, including the tissues of the oral cavity. Heightened stress levels can suppress the immune response of your body, which can make treating gum disease even more difficult.
You may notice more gingival tenderness, irritation, and swelling of gum tissues during times of stress. This is because your mouth may show an exaggerated response to bacteria, resulting in gingivitis. Gingivitis can be treated with a thorough oral hygiene routine and regular dental visits, but finding ways to reduce your stress levels may aid in the efficacy of your treatment.
Tooth Breakage from Bruxism
Heightened stress may increase tension throughout the body, which can initiate or exacerbate bruxism, the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth. Constant grating of the top teeth against the bottom teeth can pose a number of threats to your oral health, including your dental structure.
With excess pressure on your teeth, you might suffer a crack or chip in the tooth, which will disrupt the appearance of your smile as well as make the teeth vulnerable to further dental problems. A dentist can amend tooth breakage with restorative or cosmetic dental treatments.
Ideally, you should protect your natural dental structure for as long as you can. Wearing a night guard that is custom fit and tailored to your specific bite habits can reduce the pressure of bruxism and reduce your risk of fracturing teeth. Discuss stress relief and preventative dental solutions that can preserve your smile at your next dentist appointment.
Skipped Dental Check-Ups
When you feel stressed, you may feel tempted to skip or cancel a routinely scheduled appointment at your dentist’s office. You might think avoiding the hassle of attending this dental check-up can relieve stress. But missing this crucial preventative dental care can put you in danger of many dental problems.
If you do not receive these dental services, you may be evading the benefits of early detection of asymptomatic dental issues. Your teeth could weaken, putting your smile at risk of cosmetic and structural deterioration. You may then need urgent oral health care to restore your smile, which often results in more time and money spent.
Prevent this excess stress by getting the regular dental treatments that you need. Do not delay your routine dental check-up and keep your smile looking and feeling its best.