Stress and Oral Health
Don’t be surprised if your dentist asks what’s been on your mind lately. Dentists can identify the oral symptoms of stress while you’re in the exam chair. Stress may weaken your immune system, which can put you at risk for some oral health issues, such as:
Cold sores and canker sores – Canker sores form inside your cheeks, on your gums and under the tongue, while cold sores form outside the mouth.
Gum disease – Caused by the bacteria in plaque, gum disease symptoms may include red, swollen, sore and bleeding gums.
Cavities – Stress eating candy and chocolate can sugarcoat your teeth – and sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria.
Oral cancer – People who smoke or drink may increase these activities to cope with stress. These are risk factors for oral cancer.
It’s important to find ways to manage stress and stay healthy. Try relaxing with a massage, hot bath, deep breathing or simply picturing yourself in a calming spot. There are many ways to release tension, so find the activity that works best for you.