With the COVID-19 crisis, many people are facing higher levels of stress than normal. It’s hard when things are unknown and our whole daily routine has been changed. Dr. Kush Patel of Fullerton Craft Smiles Dental, a dentist in Fullerton, CA discusses how stress messes with your oral health and what you need to be on the lookout for.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Many people develop problems with teeth grinding and clenching due to stress. This is true even if they’ve never had issues with this before. You may notice that you’ve been grinding your teeth subconsciously randomly throughout the day. It also tends to happen a lot overnight, when people are sleeping.
You may first notice the impacts of your teeth grinding and clenching by developing an aching pain in your jaw. It may only be on one side, and this indicates the side you’ve been grinding on. It can also manifest as pain throughout your face and in your ear. Particularly if you grind your teeth at night, you may wake up with headaches. There’s a lot of tension when you clench your teeth. This may radiate down throughout your neck and shoulders.
If you grind and clench your teeth, you’ll notice increased wear and tear on your teeth. This is a mild symptom. You may also experience cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. Chips can be cosmetic and easily fixed with something like dental bonding. However, if it’s more severe, this can constitute a dental emergency. For example, if you break your tooth and your dental pulp and nerves are exposed.
Decreased Immune Response
One of the bigger issues with stress is that it leads our body to have a decreased immune response. This is especially nerve-wracking with a virus making its way around. It makes you more likely to develop conditions like gum disease. If you notice you have symptoms like swollen and tender gums or bleeding gums.
If you have bleeding gums when you brush and floss, that means that there are openings to the bloodstream in your mouth. The infection from the gum disease, as well as other conditions, can get into the bloodstream through these openings. This can carry the harmful infection to other parts of your body.
Perhaps even more serious is the constant inflammation that gum disease causes. Because it’s there nonstop, your body is constantly sending resources to try and fight it. This means that you have fewer resources available to fight off other issues. Whether it’s a virus or another infection, you’re more susceptible to it because your body is trying to battle that inflammation in your mouth.
Your Dentist in Fullerton, California
We want to make sure the stress of the pandemic doesn’t have a big impact on your smile. Call us or schedule an appointment online!