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NSDA Oral Health Report: Stress and Oral Health

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Are you talking with patients about stress and oral health?

The relationship between stress and poor mental and physical health is clear. Now, it’s time to start talking about how life’s pressures can also impact our mouths and teeth. In the 2019 Nova Scotia Oral Health Report, the Nova Scotia Dental Association does just that by unpacking the link between stress and oral health.

In the infographic style report that also tackles facts and stats and recognizing signs of stress, the NSDA acknowledges that when we think about stress, we don’t often consider what it’s doing to our mouths. Excessive stress and high levels of strain lead people to neglect or altogether forget their oral health habits. Frequency of brushing and flossing are lowered, regular dental visits are put off, and our oral hygiene routine devolves. 

The NSDA’s report also calls for improved access to care as well as increased collaboration between the patient and their dental team, healthcare providers, and mental health service providers to achieve better overall health.

Additional oral health effects of chronic or excessive stress:

Teeth clenching and grinding

  • Stress often causes teeth clenching and grinding and leads to fractures in teeth and fillings, as well as migraines, jaw pain, gum recession, sensitivity, and teeth loosening. 

Cankers and cold sores

  • Stress lowers our immune system’s defences causing painful canker sores and even awakening dormant herpes simplex virus triggering cold sore breakouts.

Stress-related unhealthy habits

  • During times of stress, some individuals turn to unhealthy habits like smoking or increased alcohol and sugary food and drink consumption.

Dry mouth

  • Medications used to manage stress-related conditions can cause dry mouth which may lead to gum diseases, tooth decay, and infection.

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Until next time!

CDA Oasis Team

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