When you think of emotions and how they impact you on a daily basis, you are not likely to think about dental issues. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other health conditions linked to your emotional wellbeing can impact your smile if they are left undetected and remain untreated. It is not always possible to remove the things in our lives that cause negative emotions, so it is important to address stress and properly treat individual symptoms in order to protect your health and your smile.

Teeth Grinding

Bruxism, or grinding your teeth in your sleep, can be very damaging to your teeth. You may not be aware that you are grinding your teeth unless a partner informs you that you are. It can cause everything from a dull ache in the jaw to permanent damage over a period time. Most damage to teeth due to bruxism is preventable. If you know the symptoms of bruxism, you are more likely to receive medical attention and prevent continuing dental damage.

According to WebMD, symptoms of bruxism include: “a dull, constant headache or sore jaw when you wake up.” The discomfort and tension in the jaw may go away shortly after you begin your day and is easy to overlook unless it results in more serious damage to your teeth. You may even break or loosen your teeth through repeated grinding.

Addressing the underlying issues of your stress is the best way to prevent damage, while wearing a well fitted mouth guard when you sleep. The best ways to deal with stress varies depending on the cause of the stress. Meditation and yoga may help some people while others may require medical care for severe stress leading to anxiety and depression. If you are grinding your teeth, speak to your dentist and your doctor as soon as possible.

Gum Disease

You may ask how your emotions could possibly affect your gums. The National Center for Biotechnology Information noted that “recent studies indicate that psychosocial stress represents a risk indicator for periodontal disease and should be addressed before and during treatment.” Periodontitis, or gum disease, results in the gum pulling away from the teeth and creates pockets where food and debris can become trapped between the gum and tooth. Eventually the bacteria trapped in these pockets may damage the tooth. Teeth also become loose due to these pockets, which can eventually cause tooth loss.

Address Your Stress

Addressing emotional health issues, such as stress, can greatly improve your immune system, which fights damage-causing bacteria. Along with proper oral hygiene it can help to keep your gums and teeth healthy and your smile bright. It is important to have regular cleanings and examinations to head off any major issues such as gum disease and dental damage and identify any underlying conditions which may exacerbate your symptoms. Stress, anxiety, and depression impact your smile emotionally and physically, so it is important to speak with your dentist and your physician to address all causes of stress and to prevent the damage it can cause your dental health and overall health.