You probably know that stress can affect your overall health adversely. But did you know that stress can also adversely affect your oral health? Well, it’s true…Not only does stress cause certain dental conditions, but it also results in the patient not taking care of their dental hygiene. In this article, we’ll explore the oral conditions that can result from stress and how to keep stress from sabotaging your oral health. 1) Canker Sores or Cold Sores: Canker Sores are small, shallow ulcers in the mouth that make eating and talking extremely uncomfortable. These can result from prolonged emotional stress. There are two types of Canker Sores – simple and complex. Simple Canker sores may appear three to four times a year and may last for up to a week. They typically occur between the ages of 10 and 20 years. Complex Canker Sores are less common and occur in patients who have already had them in the past. Cold sores are different from canker sores. Cold sores are also called fever blisters or herpes simplex 1. They are groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters. Cold sores occur as a result of a virus infection. Both canker sores and cold sores can be prevented by good oral hygiene, minimizing/reducing stress, and an optimally functioning immune system (for example, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising, practicing yoga or meditation, and so on.) 2) Dry Mouth: Dry Mouth is also called xerostomia and refers to a condition in which the salivary glands in the mouth don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. This condition can result from prolonged stress and nervousness, among other causes. To prevent dry mouth, you should avoid prolonged periods of stress and optimize your health during stressful periods, and also take good care of your oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. 3) Burning Mouth Syndrome: This syndrome results in a burning or scalded sensation that most commonly affects the tongue, but may also affect the lips, gums, palate, throat, or whole mouth. There could also be a loss of taste or a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth. Burning Mouth Syndrome is believed to result from stress-related issues. You should visit your dentist if you suffer from burning mouth syndrome and ensure that you are doing your best to mitigate excessive negative stress in your life. 4) Bruxism: Bruxism, also called teeth grinding, can also be caused by prolonged stress. Bruxism can result in damage to the teeth, and also damage to the jaw and soft tissues. If you suffer from bruxism, you should treat prolonged stress by practicing relaxation techniques or developing an exercise routine. 5) Oral Lichen Planus: Oral Lichen Planus results in a series of oral sores and is thought to be a reaction to stress-induced viral infections. These may occur as white, lacy patches, red, swollen tissues, or open sores. Patients with Oral Lichen Planus need regular monitoring as they may be at risk for developing oral cancer in the affected areas. If you think you may be suffering from Oral Lichen Planus, consult your dentist for an examination immediately. 6) Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ/TMD): Among other causes, TMJ can result from prolonged stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench your teeth. You can learn relaxation techniques to help loosen your jaw. You can ask your dentist as to whether you need physical therapy or massage therapy. You can also consider stress reduction therapy as well as biofeedback. 7) Gum Disease: Gum Disease can make you more susceptible to periodontal disease. If you are suffering from prolonged stress, chances are, you are not taking good care of your teeth and oral hygiene. This may result in plaque, which in turn, if not removed, can create tartar. Plaque and tartar can accumulate in the mouth, causing gum disease, and ultimately periodontal disease, if not treated. If you have gum disease, you should visit your dentist for a professional deep cleaning of your teeth, as well as the right periodontal treatment for your gum disease. These are just some of the dental conditions that can occur due to prolonged stress. While stress is an inevitable part of life, you need to be able to handle it effectively so that it does not adversely affect your oral and overall health. Here are some simple tips to help you take care of yourself to avoid the effects of prolonged stress: Maintain good oral hygiene Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet Exercise regularly Sleep well Seek professional help if you are suffering from anxiety or depression Visit your dentist regularly At the Tacoma Dental Group, Dr. Ron Lo and his team take outstanding care of your gums and teeth to help you mitigate the harmful effects of stress. The Tacoma Dental Group treats each patient holistically. Consult them for the best preventive dental care so that you can have healthy teeth, a beautiful smile, and optimal health! For more information on treating a variety of dental problems and conditions resulting from stress or other reasons, consult Dr. Ron Lo at 253-383-1551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our website https://tacomadentalgroup.com for more information.