With the COVID-19 pandemic causing uncertainty across America, stress levels have been increasing throughout the population. You may know that stress can impact you both physically and mentally. But do you know exactly how it impacts oral health? Dr. James White, a dentist in Las Vegas, NV, lets you know what you should look out for.
Decreased Immune Response
One of the biggest impacts of stress is a decreased immune response. For oral health, this makes you more susceptible to things like bacterial mouth infections and gum disease. Bacterial infections will often show up as ulcers or sores in your mouth. You may notice red or white spots or lines as well. Rinse your mouth often with warm salt water to keep it as sterile as possible. An antiseptic oral gel can be helpful as well, for both cleaning and pain.
If you notice your gums bleeding or that they’re more tender than normal, those are both signs of gum disease. The openings from bleeding gums make it easy for bacteria from the infection to get into your bloodstream. This takes the bacteria throughout the body and can cause problems in other areas.
The inflammation from gum disease can be even worse than the infection itself. The body puts resources into fighting that inflammation constantly. This means that your body is more likely to get other infections or viruses.
Grinding and/or Clenching Your Teeth
A common response to stress is grinding or clenching your teeth, even if you haven’t had this habit before. It may happen at night when you don’t even realize it’s happening. Indicators of this include headaches when you wake up in the morning and pain in the jaw, face, and ears. Since the pressure on your teeth creates a lot of tension, that tension may spread to your neck and shoulders.
In addition to pain, teeth grinding or clenching puts a lot of wear and tear on your teeth. At the least, they’re going to wear down faster than normal. You may also have chips, breaks, or cracks in your teeth. These can range from mild, cosmetic chips to severe cracks or breaks that require restoration.
Your Las Vegas, Nevada Dentist
Make sure that the pandemic stress doesn’t destroy your smile. We’ll be here for checkups after the crisis is over. Call us or schedule an appointment online for the future. We hope we’ll be seeing you soon!