With the onset of COVID-19, stress has been more prevalent across the country. As you may know, stress has an impact on both your mental and physical health. But what does this mean for oral health specifically? Dr. Melanie Andrews of Plantation Road Dental Care, a dentist in Destrehan, LA, lets you know what you should be on the lookout for.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Even if you didn’t previously have a habit of this, stress tends to bring out teeth grinding and clenching. You may not even notice you’re doing it at first. Often, this happens at night or you may find yourself doing it subconsciously throughout the day. It can occur at almost any time and may be different for each individual.
If you haven’t been catching yourself doing it, your first indicator will probably be jaw pain. Grinding or clenching your teeth puts a lot more pressure on your teeth and jaw. You may also feel pain throughout your face, in your ears, or find yourself with headaches more often. Tension can radiate down to your neck and shoulders as well. If you catch yourself doing it throughout the day, try to consciously relax your jaw to avoid this.
A dangerous thing about grinding your teeth is that it can lead to chips or breaks. At the very least, your teeth show wear and tear faster or develop cosmetic chips. In more severe cases, you may break off a large chunk of your tooth. This could be considered a dental emergency and require immediate care. Call us immediately to get it taken care of. After the pandemic, we can also get you fitted for a nightguard if you’re grinding your teeth primarily when you sleep.
Decreased Immune Response
One thing you don’t really want when there’s a virus going around is a decreased immune response from your body. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what stress does. But what does this mean in the terms of oral health?
For starters, a decreased immune response makes you more susceptible to gum disease. One of the main symptoms of even early-stage gum disease is bleeding gums. This is usually noticed while brushing or flossing. Bleeding means that there are openings in your gums, letting the bacteria from the gum infection get into your bloodstream. This can cause problems in other areas of the body as it travels through.
But what may be worse than the bacteria is the inflammation. Gum disease causes constant inflammation in the gums, which your body is always trying to fight off. With resources being used there, that leaves fewer resources to fight anything else that may come along in your body. Therefore, you’re at more of a risk for other infections as well.
Your Dentist in Destrehan, Louisiana
If you have a dental emergency, call us immediately. Otherwise, call us or schedule an appointment online for a checkup after the pandemic is over. Make sure that stress hasn’t impacted your smile. We hope to see you in our office soon!