How Your Stressful Job Could Be Damaging Your Teeth

5 October 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

It is estimated that about 80 percent of people in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their jobs, while 25 percent of working adults acknowledge that work is their greatest source of stress. Considering that you are likely to spend an average of 90,000 hours throughout your lifetime in that unsatisfactory job, that is a lot of accumulated stress. Stress leads to stress-related illnesses and an increased possibility of divorce and weight gain, but it can also lead to dental health problems with your teeth and gums.

So, if you find it hard to get out of bed to go face another day at your job, here is how you could also be damaging your mouth in the process.

It takes two

Chronic stress can come from a combination of consistent distress along with a feeling of lacking control over your life. These can often be associated with a job you hate but feel compelled to remain in for a variety of socio-economic reasons. This long-term stress causes the release of cortisol in the blood stream, which is known to suppress the immune system, and can result in flourishing bacterial growth in the mouth. This can lead to the accelerated development of cavities, which are compounded by a reduced inclination to observe regular, dental hygienic practices. 

In addition to the possible increase in dental caries are other possible problems such as canker sores. Even though a canker sore is likely to heal within 10 days, repeated episodes can lead the dentist to prescribe an oral steroid treatment, with its own side effects. 

Lock and grind

Chronic stress can lead to bruxism, which is a fairly common condition affecting about 30 to 40 million people in the U.S. Bruxism is teeth grinding, which can result in wearing away of the tooth enamel, and can lead to cracks in the teeth from the constant pressure exerted from the activity. It happens mainly as a reflex action while you sleep, and is therefore harder to control.

While steps can be taken to reduce the effects of bruxism on the teeth and jaw, if it is left untreated it can lead to cracks in the teeth and resultant infections which might require a root canal treatment or other endodontic intervention. If this is the case, you may need to contact a dental professional who specializes in endodontics in order to find a solution to your problem.