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Oral diseases caused by stress

 Herpes, bruxism, periodontitis or stress caries.

Oral diseases caused by stress

Stress has become a common problem during and after the coronavirus health crisis. If prolonged for some time, it can cause, in addition to mental health problems, diseases related to oral health such as cold sores, bruxism, periodontal diseases (gingivitis or periodontitis), or even cavities.

According to public data, anxiety and stress affect an essential part of the adult population, and many work absences are caused by this. Furthermore, it is a problem that the World Health Organization (WHO) has already described as a "global epidemic."
Oral health experts warn that when people are under emotional stress, they tend to give up healthy habits, eat more sugary foods, smoke, increase alcohol intake, and put toothbrushing and flossing on hold. Oral health during confinement and the state of alarm caused the aggravation of oral pathologies in part of the population.

All this promotes the growth of bacteria which, accompanied by a decrease in the defenses, generates an inflammation of the gums that can lead to gingivitis or periodontitis. In this sense, the accumulation of food in the oral cavity's nooks and crannies also favors cavities' appearance.

On many occasions, stress is externalized by clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth, known as bruxism. This pathology results in wear and tear of the tooth surface and pain in the temporomandibular joint area or in the temple. On the other hand, the decrease in defenses caused by stress generates a greater vulnerability to viruses. This can lead to the appearance of canker sores or the well-known herpes labialis.

Given this situation, the experts recommend influencing the care of the mouth. Thus, they highlight the importance of regular visits to the dentist not only to improve the aesthetics of the smile but also to prevent and detect minor problems that can degenerate into much more serious diseases later on.

Likewise, they advise paying attention to bad habits that arise with stress. In addition to those already mentioned, actions such as biting your nails or a pen can be very harmful and even generate microfractures in the teeth that affect their structure. For this reason, they recommend being prepared and learning to channel emotions differently.
The diet must be balanced, contain the least amount of sugars possible, and be based on foods rich in fiber, as well as incorporate certain nuts and dairy products. This should be accompanied by rigorous oral hygiene, brushing after each meal, and dental floss and irrigation.

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