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Stress and oral health

stress and oral health

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In our daily lives we tend to face a lot of stress especially after Covid . Covid has changed a lot of things in many aspects and adapting to those changes are leading to stress.

Multiple factors play a vital role in regulating the health of the oral cavity, Stress being one of the key factors.

When a person is under stress they tend to grind or clench  teeth for a longer period with increased/undue forces unknowingly. These forces  causes wearing or attrition of teeth (removing the outer layer called enamel ).

Let me explain to you in a broader form in the following section-

Stress causes bruxism(a pattern of grinding or clenching teeth) . This causes the tooth attrition /chipping off or even fracture if the forces applied are high .Clinching  of teeth can lead  to spasm in muscles of mastication or TMJ (temporomandibular joint/jaw joint).This pain can radiate to head or eyes or ears or neck and jaw areas .

Stress also leads to  decrease in saliva production and thus there is increased chances of caries as  saliva helps in flushing out food debris and keeps the oral cavity clean but decrease in it will make the food debris adhere to the tooth surface for a longer period until cleaned by external sources. Therefore it can also cause bad breath and poor oral hygiene. Saliva contains fluoride which is anti-cariogenic so the absence of fluoride in the oral cavity will cause the bacteria to flourish faster.

Stress can also be a trigger  for canker sore which is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Stress causes canker sores to appear which in a healthy environment would not appear as a symptom of herpes.

Stress can cause ulcers in oral cavity which are quite painful.

Stress management

For stress management the root cause of it to be located. Help of  psychotherapist or interventions like  relaxation techniques, stress management, behavioral modification, habit reversal can be considered.

Saving teeth from getting damaged

There is something which we can use to prevent teeth. The mouth guard acts as a barrier between the upper and the lower teeth and thus helps to eliminate the wearing off of the tooth’s structure. Mouth guards also help in giving relaxation to the muscles of mastication, Therefore the spasm is relieved and muscles come in a relaxed position, and hence the pain in the temporomandibular joint is also decreased. There is decreased headache and jaw pain along with decreased wearing off of the tooth structure.

In case there is dry mouth should make it a habit of having sips of water frequently or can also use artificial saliva like wet mouth .

End of the whole thing we should not forget the main cause that is STRESS Try to manage stress and take a break from all the worries to give our mental health priority from time to time.

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