As we all know, stress is a silent killer. Stress has been recognised as either causing or worsening conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, obesity, headaches, anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer’s, aging and ultimately death. It’s pretty clear that anything we can do to reduce stress is a good thing.
Stress can have a negative impact on oral health as well. The three main conditions brought about by stress include ANUG, Xerostomia and TMD.
This stands for Acute Ulcerative Necrotising Gingivitis. During war time they called it ‘trench mouth’. The gums become very inflamed and begin to break down and slough away, accompanied by bleeding and bad breath. The main cause is stress and lack of sleep, leading to immune system reduction. This allows oral bacteria to proliferate and cause damage. Poor oral hygiene, inadequate nutrition and smoking predispose to ANUG. The best solution is to have the teeth professionally cleaned, home rinses with peroxide, improved diet and more sleep.
Also known as Dry Mouth Syndrome, this is basically the condition of salivary flow. The main impact on oral health is tooth decay and relates to the removal of saliva’s important role in buffering plaque acid. Less saliva means less buffering which means more tooth decay. Oral tissues also become easily inflamed and irritated when they are allowed to dry out too much. Patients with xerostomia experience difficulty in speaking, chewing and swallowing and are prone to oral yeast infections. Stress, anxiety and depression commonly cause a reduction is salivary flow. Other causes include medications, caffeine or illicit drug use. Patients with xerostomia should try to reduce stress, avoid caffeine and sugar, chew sugarless gum and sip water. They should also be vigilant with dental check-ups as tooth decay is much more likely.
This stands for Temporo Mandibular Disorder and describes a muscular and skeletal condition of the jaw area most commonly caused by bruxism, or teeth grinding. Symptoms including headache, jaw muscle pain, painful and clicking jaw joints and even earache. Bruxism is common, however it is worsened by stress. Excessive muscular forces from bruxism also leads to damage to teeth, for example wearing and fracturing of teeth. Apart from reducing stress, good treatment involves wearing an occlusal splint or night guard to protect the jaw joints from stress damage and to keep the teeth out of contact.
If you have any of these conditions that we have just mentioned, please call Apple Dental on (02) 9420 5050. We are here to help. Our practice is loated at 1 Finlayson St Lane Cove NSW 2066.