Did you know that the effects of stress can play out in your oral health?

According to the American Psychological Association, 75 percent of adults report experiencing high levels of stress at some point in the past month, and almost 50 percent say they are more stressed this year than they were last year. Stress is a serious problem in the United States, and it can have devastating effects on our health. Stress can affect everything from your heart to your immune system, and your oral health is no exception. Stress can affect your oral health in many ways. Here are the top effects of stress on your oral health:

#1. TMJ Disorder

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder describes a number of disorders that affect the joints and muscles in the neck and jaw, and it can cause pain in the jaw. Though TMJ disorder is often caused by injuries, stress can also play a huge role in its development. When you are constantly stressed out, you may find yourself clenching your teeth, and over time, that can lead to the development of TMJ disorder.

#2. Bruxism

As we mentioned above, it’s not uncommon for people experiencing stress to regularly clench or grind their teeth. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, typically happens at night while you’re sleeping, so you may not even know that you are doing it. Bruxism can cause headaches during the day and a flat, rounded look to the teeth. If your jaw is sore, it can also be a sign of bruxism.

#3. Gum Disease

When you are under constant stress, it can take a toll on your immune system. When your immune system is weaker, it can make it easier for you to develop gum disease, or, if you already have gum disease, it can worsen it.

#4. Dry Mouth

Have you ever found yourself with a dry mouth before a serious meeting or appointment? Dry mouth is just one of the many ways that stress can affect your oral health. Saliva is essential for your oral health, as it helps to wash away the bacteria and food particles in your mouth.

#5. Mouth Sores

Ever wonder why your canker sores or cold sores keep coming back? It’s possible that stress might be to blame. While mouth sores can be caused by many things, one of the main causes is emotional stress.

#6. Poor Oral Hygiene

When you are in the middle of a stressful situation, brushing your teeth and flossing might be the last thing on your mind. Or if you have an overly busy schedule, you may not feel like you have the time to devote to your oral health. This is why constant stress can often lead to a dip in oral hygiene, and when you combine this with the other effects of stress on your oral health, it can create serious issues.

If your stress has led to TMJ, dry mouth or any other oral health problems, please contact our dentist in Lawrence. We offer a variety of dental services, including TMJ treatment, and we can help you enjoy a healthier mouth. Contact us today.