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How Oral Health is Impacted by Stress

During these uncertain times, people across the country are feeling more stressed than usual. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal routines and changed how our days look. Stress can impact both your body and mind. Do you know how it can affect your oral health? Dr. David J. Weinstock, a dentist in Philadelphia, PA, discusses what you should be aware of.

Grinding and Clenching Your Teeth

These habits can form during times of stress when you may not even realize you’re doing them. Many times, teeth grinding and clenching happens when you’re asleep. It can also happen during the day — whether you’re conscious of it or not. This can lead to pain and tension in the jaw, ears, face, and neck. You may also experience more headaches than normal due to the pressure.

Another thing this habit can cause is cracks, chips, or breaks in your teeth. These can range from cosmetic and harmless, to a painful break that exposes the pulp of your tooth. This is something that would be considered a dental emergency. During the pandemic, we’re here to make sure your emergency situations are taken care of. If this happens to you, call us immediately.

TMJ Disorders

Grinding or clenching your teeth can both lead to the development of a TMJ disorder. You’ll experience similar symptoms to grinding or clenching, however, the function of your jaw may be impacted. You may hear popping or clicking noises and have trouble chewing. It may be difficult to do certain motions with your mouth.

While you’re isolated, there are massage techniques available across the Internet that you can utilize to help relieve your symptoms. Once we’re fully back to the office, contact us for further treatment. We’ll determine the best way to handle your specific case.

Decreased Immune Response

One of the worst things about stress is that it decreases the response of your immune system. This makes you more susceptible to things like gum disease. If you notice your gums have become more tender or are bleeding when you brush your teeth, you need to keep an eye on it. Make sure you’re keeping up with a regular oral healthcare routine of brushing and flossing at least twice daily.

Both the bacteria and the inflammation of the gum disease can mean issues for the rest of your body. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through those bleeding gums and cause problems in other areas. Also, your body will be working hard to fight that inflammation, leaving you vulnerable to other things. This isn’t ideal when a virus is going around.

Your Dentist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you have a dental emergency, call us immediately. We’ll make sure to get you taken care of, even with the pandemic. You also want to make sure the stress of this crisis hasn’t wreaked havoc on your smile. Call us or schedule an appointment online for the future. We hope to see you soon!