How Stress Affects our Oral Health
It seems that with modern life we are all experiencing stress more than ever before. Unmanaged stress can affect our entire health including our mouth and teeth. It is known that stress can affect your immune system’s ability to fight off infections. This also can be true for the mouth. Let’s take a look at some ways stress affects our oral health and what we can do about it.
A very common thing that happens with people who are anxious or worried is the clenching of the jaw, often without even knowing it. Clenching can be very damaging to the teeth, the muscles of the jaw and the jaw joint. This can lead to what many people call “TMJ” as well as breaking teeth or causing tooth pain.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is like a gliding hinge that connects your jawbone to the rest of your head. Clenching can cause a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD which can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. TMD is actually a very common problem among Americans. It has different symptoms for many people. Some of the common symptoms are headaches to the temples or back of the neck, ear pain, pain when chewing or opening the mouth wide as well as other symptoms around the face and head.
In summary, stress can have a big effect on our ability to cope with modern life. We all can be prone to unhealthy behavioral coping strategies like drinking, smoking and unhealthy eating. We may ignore basic health habits like regular brushing and flossing. It has been proven that social interaction, exercise, plenty of sleep, healthy nutrition, and drinking enough water are much better strategies to cope with stress.
Dr Miller is considered to be the Southern Minnesota expert regarding TMJ and has been treating it for over 20 years. His treatment success rate is about 95% and he doesn’t use any medications or surgery. If you are experiencing any of the TMD warning signs listed above, contact us (507-345-5464 or find us online at www.gregmillerdds.com ) for a free consultation to discuss your symptoms. We will listen and come up with a plan together so you can finally get some relief.