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3 Ways Stress Can Harm Your Oral Health

woman with stress

It’s no secret that high stress can negatively affect our health. Prolonged periods of too much stress has been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, and difficulty in managing diabetes. But at our dental office in Buckhead, we know that increased stress can also harm your oral health.

Gum Disease

Since increased stress levels can actually make our immune systems less effective, it can greatly affect our health, including our mouths. An ineffective immune system means your body cannot deal appropriately with the bacteria in your mouth.  When this happens, the chance for developing gum disease increases. If not treated by a dentist in Buckhead, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bad breath, and a whole host of other health problems such as heart disease.   

TMJ

Everyone reacts to stress in different ways. Some people bite their nails, others sweat a lot, and many people clench their jaws. Oftentimes these responses to stress are done automatically and without thought or awareness. But when someone habitually clenches their jaw over and over it can lead to some serious problems. Not only can repeated clenching damage teeth, but it can also cause severe jaw pain. Occasionally the pain is temporary, but other times it gets worse and is partnered with clicking, popping, or a locked jaw. If this occurs, it could be a sign of TMJ (or TMD) and treatment will be recommended.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are a potential oral health side effect of too much stress. While they aren’t necessarily dangerous, they can certainly be annoying and often painful. Like stated previously, stress affects your immune system which allows for the virus that causes  canker sores to express itself. Treatment isn’t usually needed as canker sores should go away on their own and aren’t contagious.

Reduce Stress

To protect your overall health and oral health from the dangers of too much stress, practice lowering stress and anxiety by following a few key tips such as:

  • Eating Well. Following a well-balanced diet fuels our bodies to function properly, and when our bodies are working as they should, it may be easier to keep stress levels low.
  • Working Out. Being active releases “feel good” chemicals in our bodies that make us feel happier and less stressed. Find an exercise program that you enjoy and stick with it!
  • Sleeping Enough. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night can help your body relax and replenish, thus decreasing stress and preparing you to tackle another day.

If you feel that stress may be affecting your oral health, we welcome you to call our Buckhead dental office to schedule an appointment with us today. We promise that a visit with us will be anything but stressful.

Looking for Migraine Relief? Consider Seeing Your Dentist

woman with headache

Over 39 million Americans, including both adults and children, are affected by chronic migraines, and currently there is no cure. In order to help educate the public on the reality of this painful condition, our Buckhead dental office observes National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month every June. But why is a dentist talking about migraines? What do they have to do with dentistry? Let’s find out…

Identifying a Migraine

Even though migraines are often be referred to as headaches, or headaches referred to as migraines, there is a difference between the two. Commonly headaches that are referred to as migraines are often muscle tension headaches that are not true migraines.  Although both share the common symptom of an uncomfortable, painful sensation in the head, there are several things to look for that can help differentiate the two.

Headaches Migraines
  • Pain isn’t usually on only one side of the head, but can be
  • Pain tends to affect one side of the head, although not always
  • Pain doesn’t get worse with activity
  • Pain gets more intense when doing anything physical
  • Pain is typically a constant pressure sensation
  • Pain appears more throbbing than a consistent pressure
  • Has no other symptoms in other areas
  • Common to experience nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, blurry vision

The Connection Between Migraines & Dentistry

Although there is no one, absolute cause of migraines, studies have shown a connection between a poor bite and chronic headaches. How is this possible? When we look at the anatomy of the head as a whole, we can see that there is a complex weave of muscles between the head and the jaw. So when the top jaw doesn’t align well with the bottom jaw, too much pressure is put on the muscles in that area and they can become strained. When this happens, the pain may not necessarily be felt in the jaw itself (although it can be), but rather in the head as muscle pain. If you clench or grind your teeth often your jaw muscles will again be put under abnormal pressure and, you guessed, you can get a headache.

Many headache sufferers have found relief through dental intervention. To see if that may be an option for you, start by scheduling an appointment at our dental office in Buckhead. This appointment will allow us to check for any signs or a poor bite or bruxism to determine if this may be the cause of your headaches. From there, we will discuss your treatment options and recommend the best solution for you. Don’t keep suffering from headache pain, give us a call today.

Don’t Let Holiday Stress Affect Your Oral Health

holiday stress

Late November is when we gear up for a few weeks of feasts, family, fun, shopping, and all that the holiday season brings. Between arranging schedules to see everyone you need to see, fitting in all the parties you’ve been invited to, cooking large meals, and everything in between, it’s no wonder that stress levels tend to soar this time of year. As we all know, stress can affect our overall wellbeing. But at our dental office in Buckhead, we also know stress can jeopardize oral health, too.

What’s With The Jaw Pain?

Our bodies react to stress differently, and we aren’t even aware of some of the things it does when stressed.  Clenching and grinding our teeth tends to be one of those things. When we grind our teeth against each other, the forces put on the teeth can cause them to chip, crack, or break. Clenching can do the same thing, but it also affects the jaw. Habitually clenching our teeth may cause headaches, serious jaw pain and, if left untreated, long-term TMJ problems. If you’re experiencing clicking or popping in the jaw joint, jaw pain, or occasional jaw locking give your Buckhead dentist a call.

Gum Disease

The main causes of gum disease usually include improper oral hygiene, dry mouth, or smoking. But one of the lesser known risk factors to developing this serious oral health problem is stress. Research has shown a strong link between prolonged stress and a higher risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a health problem that originates in the mouth but also can affect the entire body. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and other serious health problems.

Stay Calm, Stay Healthy

At our Buckhead dental office, we know that life can be super stressful, especially during the holidays. If you find your blood pressure increasing and your anxiety levels rising, try a few of these tips to relax and keep yourself healthy.

  • Eat Well. Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs can keep energy levels high and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
  • Sleep Often. During the holidays we try to shove so many things into our schedules that sleep is usually the first thing we sacrifice. However, getting enough sleep every night can help ensure your body will stay healthy enough to enjoy all the holiday festivities you have planned.
  • Exercise Regularly. Hit the treadmill, go for a walk, attend a class — whatever you choose to do, make sure you exercise regularly. Exercise is naturally stress reducing, so don’t skip your workouts

The team at our Buckhead dental office wish you and your family a happy, healthy holiday season!

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