Dental Health

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    Stress less, smile more
    The impact of stress on oral health: What you should know

    Stress can manifest in many ways – headaches, stomachaches and issues with your oral health. It’s helpful to take steps to reduce your stress and mitigate the damage to your mouth.

    dog woman smilingHow stress impacts oral health

    • Jaw joint issues – Can cause pain around the ear or face.
    • Bruxism – Teeth grinding can cause damage, especially when concentrating or at night.
    • Poor oral hygiene – A lack of brushing and flossing can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
    • Cold sores – Commonly triggered by dental treatment, stress and exposure to sunlight.
    • Stress-induced oral infections or sores – May show up as ulcers, white lines, or white or red spots.
    • Decreased immune response – Can contribute to the development of periodontal (gum) disease.

    How to reduce painful symptoms

    • If you grind your teeth, talk with your dentist about getting a custom-fitted night guard.** It can prevent tooth damage from grinding and act as a cushion for your jaw and joint tissues.
    • Avoid hard or crunchy foods when you’re in pain.
    • Avoid tobacco and alcohol, which can make your oral symptoms worse.
    • Try gentle massage, physical therapy or non-opioid pain relief medications.
    • Talk with your doctor or dentist about antiinflammatory drugs for inflammation and antiviral drugs to prevent cold sores.
    • To help reduce cold sores, stay out of the sun or use at least an SPF 30 sunscreen.

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