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Everyone deals with stress in their own way. But when we don’t deal with it properly, our general health can really suffer.

Unmanaged stress can bring about a host of issues. You may be aware of some of the larger problems like anxiety, weight gain, digestive issues, insomnia, and irritability.

Have you ever wondered about your dental health though? Unfortunately, stress can negatively impact the state of your mouth and your pearly whites.

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We here at Heroes Dental want to keep you informed so you can maintain a beautiful and healthy smile. Consider these oral conditions that can be brought on by stress:

Bruxism

Stress may cause you to grind your teeth or clench your jaw, particularly at night time. The technical name for this condition is bruxism.

Because teeth grinding occurs more commonly at night, you may not notice you are doing it until you exhibit symptoms of soreness and tenderness along your jaw. Over time, the continuous pressure causes increased tooth sensitivity and wears down your enamel. This can eventually lead to tooth damage.

What To Do: If you notice that you are grinding your teeth or that stress has made your teeth grinding worse, visit your family dentist at Heroes Dental for recommendations. Our family dentists can advise you on what type of night guard is best to help curb any grinding action.

You may also practice keeping your teeth slightly apart throughout the day to avoid added pressure and mindless grinding.

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Canker Sores

These small and painful ulcers appear on the inside of the mouth, tongue, lips or throat with a white or base and red border. They are among the most common oral lesions – though not to be confused with cold sores.

While the exact cause of canker sores is unknown, stress is believed to be a contributing factor. Stress can exacerbate some compulsive behaviors such as cheek biting, as well as decrease your body’s defenses against germs.

Canker sores are not a serious oral health condition, but they are uncomfortable.

What To Do: Most canker sores will go away on their own, within a span of a week to 10 days. To alleviate irritation around the sore, avoid acidic and spicy foods. Over-the-counter (OTC) numbing oral medicines and ointments can be used for pain relief.

Cold Sores

Also known as fever blisters, cold sores are caused by a virus that causes a cluster of tiny blisters to appear on or around the lips. Incredibly common, about 8 out of 10 people carry the virus that causes cold sores; most are infected before the age of 10.

While the virus remains dormant for the most part, it can become active. Any kind of stress can result in an outbreak, including mental, emotional, dental treatment/procedures, trauma to the area, or illness.

What To Do: Cold sores, just like canker sores, will disappear on their own in about a week. However, the virus that causes cold sores can spread during an outbreak. Start an over-the-counter treatment as soon as you notice one forming and avoid contact of that area with other people.

TMJ/TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorder involves the jaw and the facial joints that keep your jaw in place. It is characterized by pain and compromised movement of the jaw joint.

The joint and surrounding muscle may become inflamed and tender to the touch. TMD may be caused by a variety of things, particularly any kind of repeated trauma to the jaw, such as teeth grinding or jaw clenching.

As one of the most common side effects of stress is clenching of the jaw, it’s easy to see the correlation between stress and TMD.

Persistent trauma to the jaw can result in soreness as well as popping or clicking of the jaw, which may also be triggered by emotional factors like anxiety and depression.

What To Do: If you believe your stress is the culprit of your teeth grinding or jaw clenching habits, target the source of your stress and seek professional attention or engage in stress-relieving activities such as exercise and meditation.

You can also talk to our Heroes Dental dentist about ways to minimize the effects of teeth grinding and jaw clenching.

Poor Dental Habits

Being under extreme emotional or mental stress can affect your mood significantly and cause you to neglect your health.

For some, personal hygiene may become less of a priority. Others may resort to sugary, highly processed foods and drinks during times of stress.

Over time, poor oral hygiene and poor dietary habits may increase your chances of tooth decay and gum disease.

What To Do: If you are under severe emotional or mental distress, you may consider seeking professional guidance to help you cope with the stress. Engage in activities that provide a positive experience.

Most importantly, do not forget to take care of yourself. Your health is paramount. Maintain your oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouth rinse.

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Stress wrecking your teeth? Heroes Dental is here to save the day…and your smile!

Don’t let stress wreck your teeth. Instead, let Heroes Dental save you from stress-related dental problems. Our practice offers exceptional comprehensive services in dentistry and orthodontics for you and every member of your family.

We understand that stress can be difficult to manage and overcome, and we want to be at your side in your journey to a stress-free lifestyle. If your dental health is suffering as a result of high-stress levels, let us help.

We have locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley, so we are never too far from home. Contact us today at one of our family dentistry offices in Laredo, Mission, San Juan, Pharr, or Edinburg to schedule an appointment.

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