Stress and your teeth

December 16, 2002

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? Too busy preparing for the holidays to listen to your body? You're not alone.

More than 17.6 million Americans report that the holidays are their most stressful time of year. Dentists routinely see oral symptoms of stress exacerbated by increased cases of oral facial pain, jaw pain, herpes outbreaks (cold sores) and temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

"At the first sign of oral pain or infection, it's important to see your dentist," says Peter Bastian, DDS, MAGD, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education. "These symptoms may be your mouthÕs warning signs for more serious health risks."

Dentists know that stress and stress-related disorders including mental illnesses such as depression are contributing factors - either directly or indirectly - to heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, accidental injuries, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide - all leading causes of death in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

After a thorough examination and diagnosis of oral problems and screening for a linked stress-related disorder, dentists can help patients by referring them to a medical specialist.

"The 'team treatment' between dentist and medical specialist ensures both oral and overall problems are being treated and that any medications prescribed do not interfere with each other and inhibit recovery," explains Edward Grace, DDS, MA, FAGD, co-author of an article on stress-related disorders that appears in the November/December 2002 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Academy.

"It's hard for most people to identify how much stress they're experiencing and to what degree it's affecting their body until they get sick," says Dr. Bastian. "Regular six-month dental check-ups are a first-line of defense for detecting stress-related disorders early."

Fact:
One out of every four American adults suffers from oral facial pain.

Fact:
Left untreated, toothaches and headaches can interfere with vital functions such as eating, talking and swallowing.
-end-


Academy of General Dentistry

Related Stress Articles from Brightsurf:

Stress-free gel
Researchers at The University of Tokyo studied a new mechanism of gelation using colloidal particles.

Early life stress is associated with youth-onset depression for some types of stress but not others
Examining the association between eight different types of early life stress (ELS) and youth-onset depression, a study in JAACAP, published by Elsevier, reports that individuals exposed to ELS were more likely to develop a major depressive disorder (MDD) in childhood or adolescence than individuals who had not been exposed to ELS.

Red light for stress
Researchers from the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo have created a biphasic luminescent material that changes color when exposed to mechanical stress.

How do our cells respond to stress?
Molecular biologists reverse-engineer a complex cellular structure that is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS

How stress remodels the brain
Stress restructures the brain by halting the production of crucial ion channel proteins, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

How plants handle stress
Plants get stressed too. Drought or too much salt disrupt their physiology.

Stress in the powerhouse of the cell
University of Freiburg researchers discover a new principle -- how cells protect themselves from mitochondrial defects.

Measuring stress around cells
Tissues and organs in the human body are shaped through forces generated by cells, that push and pull, to ''sculpt'' biological structures.

Cellular stress at the movies
For the first time, biological imaging experts have used a custom fluorescence microscope and a novel antibody tagging tool to watch living cells undergoing stress.

Read More: Stress News and Stress Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.