Whether you realize it or not, happenings in your life that cause stress can lead to dental problems. Recurring dental problems may require your dentist to get the root (no pun intended) of your stress to help you achieve better oral health.
Dentists who ask patients, "What's new with you, or what's going on in your life?" may be of better service to their patients:
Effects of Stress on Your Mouth
If you under stress, you are more prone to a variety of oral problems:
- Teeth grinding
- Canker sores
- Cold sores
- Gum disease
Feeling upset can trigger an outbreak of mouth sores, or cause you to grind your teeth, which can lead to TMJ. If you're often, or always, at your wit's end, you may even skip your daily oral routines, which leads to gum disease or worsening of gum disease.
Your Dentist Can Help
You may be wondering how a dentist can help with stress issues. While it's true dentist most often refer patients to see orthodontists, endodontists, oral surgeons, or other specialists that work in dental-related fields, he or she can refer you to other doctors as well. How often does your dentist ask you what's new? This can be an important question.
Find a dentist you feel comfortable with, and if he or she doesn't ask about your life, volunteer information that you think may be important, such as:
- You've changed jobs
- Recently got married or divorced
- You've added a new baby to the family
- Recently lost a loved one
- Other life happening that may lead to stress
That pain in your jaw or your headaches may be due to unknowingly grinding your teeth. If your dentist know's your stressed, he or she can check for signs of worn teeth and prescribe a mouth guard to wear at night. If you're not brushing or flossing regularly, your dentist may want you to come in more often to get cleanings until you get your routine back on track. What you do and how you feel in your day to day life, does have a big impact on your oral health.
If your dentist knows what's going on your life, he or she is better able to help by referring you to someone who can help with your stressful situation. Your dentist can refer to a psychologist or a family counsellor who can help you through a difficult or stressful period in your life.
The important thing to remember is, just like your family physician, your dentist can do more to help your oral health if he or she knows more about you and your life for more info.