The COVID-19 crisis is putting a lot of stress on Americans across the country. We know that stress impacts our body and mind in different ways. But do you know the impact it can have on your oral health? Dr. Frank Henrich of Henrich Dental, a dentist in Tulsa, OK, discusses the effects that stress can have on your mouth and teeth.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Whether it was a previous habit or not, stress tends to make people grind and clench their teeth. They may not even notice they’re doing it. It can happen overnight or subconsciously during the daytime when we encounter something that causes us stress. This puts a lot more pressure on the teeth and the effects of that radiate.
If you’ve started grinding or clenching your teeth from stress, or are doing it more than usual, it’s likely you’ll start to have pain in your jaw. You’ll probably also experience headaches and facial pain due to it spreading out in your facial area. Do your best to try and consciously relax your jaw while awake whenever possible.
One of the consequences of grinding and clenching your teeth too much can be a TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders can be caused by many things, including jaw trauma and jaw misalignment. In addition to the pain and headaches you’d feel with teeth grinding, you may have issues with your jaw function now when it progresses.
You may hear your jaw pop and click when you open and close your mouth. You may also have trouble eating or speaking. It can be hard or painful to open or close your jaw. There are massage techniques you can utilize to help relieve TMJ disorder symptoms. If you’re unable to leave isolation, a family member or partner should be able to help!
Poor Oral Hygiene
When stress is overwhelming and there are changes in your normal routine, some things may fall by the wayside. Oral hygiene may be one of those things. Take care to make sure that you continue to brush and floss regularly. Try to create a new routine if yours has been changed. Without regular oral care, you’re likely to suffer from tooth decay that can get worse the longer it goes untreated.
Decreased Immune Response
Stress can also overwhelm your immune system, which is something we definitely don’t want when there’s a virus going around. It makes you more susceptible to gum disease. If you notice bleeding gums, take care to brush and floss as thoroughly as possible, and pay extra care to oral hygiene. Bacteria from the gum infection can make its way into your bloodstream through those openings from bleeding gums.
Your Tulsa, Oklahoma Dentist
Use your own judgment to decide how you want to proceed during the coronavirus crisis. Call us today or schedule an appointment online to get assistance with emergency dentistry or other care. We hope to see you soon!