Your dental health is affected by so many things that you might not even be aware of some of them. For example, many people don't know that stress can trigger dental problems. Below are some of the ways in which stress affects your teeth.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
You are likely to grind and clench your teeth when stressed. The constant grinding and clenching place too much stress on your teeth, with multiple potential effects. For example, the grinding can erode your teeth enamel, the clenching can cause tiny cracks on your teeth, and the clenching can lead to jaw pain.
Some people also bite their nails when stressed. Chronic nail biting also places extreme stress on your teeth and triggers complications similar to those caused by grinding and clenching. Also, you risk transferring germs from your hands (since hands are some of the dirtiest parts of the body) to your mouth. The germs can infect various tissues in your oral cavity, including your gums.
Oral Care Neglect
Stress makes many people ignore various aspects of their life, including oral care. Daily brushing and flossing are some of the first things to go if someone feels stressed. You may also start ignoring your dental appointments. The accumulated effects of such neglect can lead to gum disease, dental caries, and further complications.
Stress affects people in different ways. Some go into an eating and drinking spree while others forget about food completely. Unfortunately, both of these can lead to dental complications. For one, the lack of good nutrition means weak gums and teeth (for example, due to poor re-mineralization). If your stress makes you eat everything and anything, you might end up eating sugary things and encourage bacteria to grow and attack your teeth.
Stress also dries up your mouth by reducing the production of saliva. A dry mouth encourages the growth of bacteria; the same bacteria that can attack your teeth and other oral tissues. A dry mouth also tends to smell because there is no saliva to wash away the debris on your teeth.
Compromised Immune System
Lastly, stress also compromises your oral immune system in more ways than one. Poor diet, the increased risk of oral infection, and even the stress itself will weaken your immune system. The weakened immune system means your mouth will be less likely to resist infections, including teeth infections, which a good immune system would easily deal with.
If you think your stress has affected your dental health, visit a dentist to have any problems treated.