Modern stressful lifestyle has started taking a toll on our bodies and minds. When mental stress is not released it shows as anxiety, insomnia, and even depression. All these psychological conditions can create a havoc in our body and our mouth and teeth cannot escape the damage. Perhaps the destructive process has already started without us even knowing about it. So it is more important to watch out for certain signs and symptoms in the teeth, jaws and around the mouth which can be due to your being stressed out.
Bruxism: It is the involuntary or sometimes conscious clenching of teeth. You may be doing it during the daytime while getting angry at someone or on getting caught in a traffic jam. Also, you may be taking your daily stress to your bed and clenching your teeth during your sleep.
All this can lead to:
1) Fracture, chipping or wearing down of teeth
2) Formation of V-shaped cavities on the sides of teeth
3) Pain in the jaws on opening/ closing of mouth, clicking sounds
Nightguard: A night guard can be of significant help in preventing damage to the teeth and supporting structures
Depression as sequelae of untreated stress can lead to:
1. Gum disease: Depression can trigger a rise in stress hormone cortisol, which in turn can weaken your immunity predisposing your otherwise healthy gums to bacteria.
2. Cavities: People with depression symptoms tend to gorge on sugary and refined foods. This coupled with a decrease in salivary flow associated with anti-depressants and poor oral hygiene can lead to increase in caries.
3. Aphthous ulcer: Aphthous ulcer once formed, typically lasts for 7-10 days irrespective of any treatment given. During its stay, it tends to be painful and sometimes makes eating food difficult. Most of us have experienced an ulcer at some point or other. But in a stressed person the frequency and severity of ulceration are high.
This is just an insight into how stress is affecting our mouth. And as our understanding of depression related diseases expands, the newer times may soon unearth a strong correlation between your psychological state of feeling perpetually low to new diseases and disorders some of which may turn out to be fatal.