Stress can cause a variety of changes throughout the body. For some, it can cause fatigue, chest pain, or an upset stomach. Others may experience changes in their eating patterns or ability to focus. But did you know that stress could also be damaging your smile? In fact, symptoms like headaches and muscle pain could be the result of how stress is impacting your oral health. Read on to find out more and how your Sylacauga dentist can help protect your smile.
How Stress Affects Your Mouth
Stress can negatively influence your oral health by:
- Making you feel restless or forgetful, which could cause you to slack off on your oral hygiene and increase your number of oral bacteria.
- Lowering your immune system, which may be what allows the formation of cold and canker sores in your mouth.
- Increasing your risk of gum disease thanks to a combination of increased bacteria and reduced immune response.
- Weakening your enamel, breaking your teeth, or causing jaw issues through unconscious teeth grinding, which is a condition known as bruxism.
What is Bruxism?
Daytime stress can sometimes cause you to grind your teeth or clench your jaw in your sleep, which is a condition known as bruxism. Although dental experts don’t understand the exact cause of bruxism, we do know that it could send you on a trip to visit your emergency dentist in Sylacauga. Constant extra pressure on your teeth every night quickly wears down your enamel, which weakens your teeth. This could cause chips and cracks, which could evolve into fractured or infected teeth if left untreated. Additionally, the added tension in your mouth often results in soreness in your jaw and face. In fact, bruxism has been known to cause headaches, neck stiffness, and TMJ disorder.
How to Keep Bruxism from Grinding Away Your Smile
Thankfully, a custom nightguard from your Sylacauga dentist can protect your smile while you sleep if you have bruxism. This lightweight dental device rests easily in your mouth and places a barrier between your upper and lower jaw. Keeping your teeth from touching throughout the night mitigates extra pressure on the enamel and protects them from damage. It also works as a cushion for your jaw, which relieves the tension in the joints to prevent pain and soreness.
While you could get a nightguard from your local pharmacy or grocery store, you’re not likely to get the full treatment you need. A professionally made nightguard from your dentist will fit your teeth precisely and offer your mouth the most support. Since bruxism can be difficult to identify on your own, see your dentist if you have any questions or concerns about how stress is impacting your smile.
About the Practice
At Family Dentistry Rick Redmond, DMD in Sylacauga, AL, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve a smile that looks and feels great. So if your busy lifestyle is interrupted by constant jaw discomfort or sensitive teeth, come see Dr. Rick Redmond about bruxism. His high-quality nightguards can help protect your teeth from this common condition and get back to enjoying your beautiful, healthy smile. If you’d like to learn more about bruxism, feel free to contact him via his website or (256) 245-3645.