Doctors have been telling us for years that stress can increase the risk of everything from high blood pressure to depression. But how often do we think about how stress affects our smile?
And what about your child’s smile? Children are just as susceptible to stress-induced oral problems.
Here are some dental problems linked to stress.
Canker and Cold Sores
Cold sores are a symptom of the herpes simplex virus. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes canker sores but suspect they are related to infection, virus, or a weak immune system. If you or your child are prone to mouth sores, you probably already know that stress seems to bring them on or lengthen healing times.
communicate with your doctor or dentist. Your healthcare provider can guide you on medications, diet, and stress reduction practices.
It’s no surprise that teeth grinding (bruxism) is dangerous to teeth. It starts with enamel wear, then loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. During this progression, there may be other dilemmas such as gum recession, headaches, and TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders).
If you notice that your child grinds their teeth, it’s vital to address this condition as soon as possible. In addition to stress, there are many factors that can cause or exacerbate bruxism. These include malocclusion (bad bite), and prescription depression and anxiety medications.
Your dentist may prescribe an appliance to protect your child’s teeth and keep their jaw in the proper position while you are sleeping. Other treatments include cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation therapies, mandibular advancement devices, physical therapy, and medication.
If your child grinds their teeth, Dr. Baugh can develop a treatment plan and work with you and your doctor to manage or eliminate this condition.
There are many direct and indirect causes of TMD. For example, inability to manage stress may cause jaw clenching which, in turn, causes pain in the jaw joint. Other symptoms of TMD include tenderness, pain, or swelling in the neck, ear, face, or shoulder; popping or clicking sounds; and changes in bite alignment. Again, if you or your child experiences any of these, talk to your dentist.
Stress can reduce your ability to fight plaque build-up which can cause periodontal disease.
Some children fail to recognize brushing and flossing when they are experiencing high levels of stress.
It’s not uncommon for individuals people to consume more sugar and snack more often between meals when experiencing increased stress. All this at a time when vigilant oral hygiene is typically not a person’s first priority!
Let’s nip this vicious cycle in the bud. Make an appointment with your dentist to protect your child’s dental health.
Remember, a healthy smile will give them one less thing to worry about.
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