If you’ve been under a lot of stress lately, your mouth may be paying the price. We at Dr. Lis Bradley’s dental office would never want to make patients’ anxiety worse, but it is important for them to understand that allowing stress to go untreated has harmful consequences for the body, including the teeth.
There are two ways that stress can cause damage to the teeth: through primary occlusal trauma, caused by bite force, and secondary occlusal trauma, caused by infection. Primary occlusal trauma may arise from habits such as nighttime teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Although enamel is a tough substance and the back teeth can withstand tremendous force, constant wear can crack or chip them. Secondary occlusal trauma occurs when gum disease has progressed to the point that the ligaments holding teeth in place are no longer able to provide them with the necessary support. When people are under stress, their immune system produces fewer white blood cells, reducing their ability to combat gum infections. There is also evidence that cortisol, a hormone produced when the body is under stress, indirectly stimulates gum inflammation.
Of course, people who are under stress tend to also neglect their oral hygiene. We want our patients to know that we can help treat periodontal disease and repair dental damage. But it is important to remember that mental self-care is important for maintaining every bodily system.
Lis Bradley, DDS, operates at 8112 Isabella Ln, Suite 101, Brentwood, Tennessee. To schedule an appointment, visit Lis Bradley or call 615-778-0810.