With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation, Americans have been experiencing much more stress than normal. You may know that this has an impact on both your body and mind. However, do you know exactly how it can impact your oral health? LifeSMILES Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, a dentist in Boise, ID, discusses what you should be on the lookout for during this time.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Teeth grinding or clenching are common ways that people take out stress on their mouths. You may not have had this habit before, but stress tends to bring it out. It can happen at night while you’re sleeping, without even noticing. It can also be during the day, where you may catch yourself doing it.
With this habit, a lot of pressure is being put on your teeth. This leads to a lot of pain in your jaw, face, and ears. You may have headaches, especially upon waking up if you find you grind your teeth at night. The tension from grinding and clenching can also present itself throughout your neck and shoulders.
One of the most dangerous parts of grinding and clenching, though, is the potential to chip, crack, or break your teeth. These problems can range from cosmetic chips to severe breaks. These breaks can be painful and expose the pulp of your teeth. This is something we’d consider a dental emergency, which we’re treating for patients during the pandemic. Call us immediately if this happens to you.
Decreased Immune Response
One of the worst things about stress is that it decreases our body’s immune response. This is especially pertinent when there’s a virus spreading. But how does that impact oral health?
Stress makes you susceptible to bacterial mouth infections and gum disease. Infections can present themselves as ulcers or red and white sores or marks in the mouth. If this happens to you, make sure you rinse your mouth frequently with warm salt water. Use antiseptic oral gel on the sores if you have some available. It’s important to try and keep the area clean.
If you notice yourself having gums that are bleeding or more tender than usual, that’s a sign of gum disease. The openings caused by those bleeding gums make a great path for bacteria to get into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. Inflammation is a problem, too. Your body is constantly trying to fight the inflammation caused by gum disease. That means a higher chance of other infections or issues.
Your Dentist in Boise, Idaho
Make sure stress hasn’t wreaked havoc on your smile over the crisis. We’re here for checkups when the pandemic is over. Call us or schedule an appointment online for the future. We hope to see you soon!