In these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, stress levels are increasing everywhere. Worry is setting in about the virus and how long all of this will last. And this increased amount of stress can impact your oral health more than you may know. Dr. Scott Finlay, a dentist in Arnold, MD, gives you signs to watch out for where stress is impacting your oral health.
Teeth Grinding or Clenching
This can happen at night when you’re sleeping, subconsciously, or during the day when you’re concentrating or worrying. You may not even notice you’re doing it. This is a common sign of stress manifesting itself through your mouth.
Teeth grinding or clenching can lead to a whole lot of problems as well. It causes wear and tear on your teeth when you’re grinding them together. This can lead to cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. It can also cause headaches or pain in the jaw. If you continue with grinding your teeth, that pain can worsen and lead to conditions like TMJ disorders.
TMJ disorders are often caused by stress and grinding your teeth very often. In addition to worsening headaches and pain in the face and jaw, TMJ disorders have other impacts. You may find it hard to eat or talk, or that your jaw has started clicking and popping when you open or close it. The tension and pain can lead to your neck and upper shoulders as well.
Poorer Oral Hygiene
Especially being in isolation and not going out anywhere, our oral hygiene can be lacking. Add that on top of stress, working from home, and taking care of kids and pets, and you may find yourself falling out of your brushing and flossing routine. This can lead to problems with tooth decay, like cavities and even root canals. Try to set a schedule to keep yourself on your oral care routine so your smile doesn’t suffer.
Sores or Infections
You may notice the development of ulcers or red or white spots in your mouth. They’re probably tender and uncomfortable to the touch. This could be an indication of an infection brought on by stress. Regularly rinse your mouth out with warm salt water and apply antiseptic oral gel if you have some available. Avoid spicy foods until the inflammation in your mouth calms down.
Decreased Immune Response
One of the last things we need right now, stress leads to a decreased immune response. This gives you a higher chance of developing gum disease. Gum disease not only can cause severe problems in your mouth, but the bacteria can get into your bloodstream easily through the bleeding gums that come with the infection. You don’t want it to travel elsewhere in your body.
Oral Care From Your Arnold, Maryland Dentist
Make sure your pandemic stress hasn’t made your oral health suffer. When the pandemic is over, we’re here to make sure you get a checkup and cleaning. Call us or schedule an appointment online. We hope to see you soon!