unhappy woman in bath towel brushing teeth with mirror in the bathroom

Proper Oral Hygiene During Times of Stress

If you are under a lot of stress, you may forget to perform basic oral hygiene or rush through your morning teeth brushing, flossing and rinsing routine, which can leave you at risk for tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. Our dentist in West Melbourne, FL would like to remind you to brush your teeth regularly, even when you are busy and stressed in order to prevent oral health problems.

Symptoms of Stress in Your Mouth

When most people think of symptoms of stress, they think of sore shoulders, increased headaches and feeling tired or mentally exhausted. However, your mouth can also be negatively affected by stress.

Increased Risk for Gum Infections

If you are highly stressed, you may be at an increased risk for gum disease. When you are under a lot of stress, your body releases cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. It is responsible for regulating glucose levels in the blood, metabolism, the immune system response and blood pressure. When an individual experiences prolonged high levels of cortisol, the immune system function is lowered, wounds take longer to heal and blood sugar levels can fluctuate. All of this can have a detrimental effect on your gum health, and it is multiplied if you forget to brush your teeth. Signs of gum disease including bleeding gums and red, irritated or swollen gums. As the condition advances, it can lead to the gums retracting and bone loss as well as oral infections.

Having a Sore or Achy Jaw

Stress can also cause you to have a sore or achy jaw. This is often due to clenching the teeth at night. If you are extremely stressed while at work, you may also notice yourself clenching your teeth during the day. This condition is called bruxism. It is characterized by nighttime teeth grinding, and if it is severe and/or prolonged, it can wear down the teeth, resulting in tooth sensitivity and the need for dental restoration services.

Proper Oral Hygiene

Even during times of high stress and chaos, it is important to maintain your oral hygiene routine in order to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and cavities. Our dentist recommends using a soft-bristled brush to avoid injuring the gums.

Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day. We recommend brushing your teeth in the morning after you wake up and in the evening before you go to bed. You may also want to brush your teeth after eating or drinking anything sugary, like candy, cake, regular soft drinks and energy drinks. However, it is important to wait at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking before you brush your teeth.

Dr. Brazdo recommends flossing at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth before it hardens into tartar. You can also use a mouthwash to help rinse your mouth of loose food particles and to freshen your breath. If you are uncertain as to which products to use to help keep your mouth clean and healthy, our dentist can give you recommendations. In general, you should look for products that carry the American Dental Association seal of approval.

Dental Exams in West Melbourne

To help keep your mouth healthy, you should also schedule a dental exam and cleaning twice a year. Dental exams help ensure that there is nothing wrong with your teeth, gums or overall oral health. It can also help identify bite problems and misaligned or crooked teeth so that they can be corrected.

A dental cleaning involves thoroughly removing all the plaque and tartar from your teeth and below the gum line in order to prevent gum diseases, like gingivitis and periodontal disease. If you do show signs of gum disease, our dentist may recommend a deep cleaning and treatments to help stop the progression of the disease. Individuals with moderate to severe gum disease should schedule cleanings every three to four months.

To schedule a dental exam with our dentist in West Melbourne or to learn more about our routine and cosmetic dental services, call us at 321-724-1400.