Anxiety happens to all of us occasionally. It's often a normal part of life that occurs when things get a little busy, you've got something you're worrying about or situations change quickly. But anxiety that's persistent - such as that associated with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia or social anxiety disorder that makes you uncomfortable and causes you to feel overwhelmed all the time - can disrupt your daily life and cause you physical side effects too. In many cases, these side effects include heartburn, a racing pulse, chest pain, headaches and digestive issues.
But there are also oral effects of anxiety.
Facts About Anxiety
Some researchers estimate that 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety. However, only about 30 percent of individuals living with anxiety receive treatment, despite many anxiety disorders being highly treatable. Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting adults and children.
The Oral Effects of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders can affect your oral health and cause uncomfortable symptoms that you may not realize are part of your condition. These symptoms include:
- Dry mouth
- Canker sores and lichen planus, a condition that causes lacy white lines, red areas and mouth ulcers
- Burning mouth syndrome
Some people living with an anxiety disorder may also neglect caring for their teeth, which can lead to an increased risk of gum disease and cavities.
Medications for anxiety can also negatively affect your oral health by reducing your ability to produce saliva, which can increase the risk of of tooth loss and cavities. Other medications may cause uncomfortable side effects such as vomiting, which can lead to enamel erosion, anemia and bleeding gums.
Anxiety can also contribute to the development of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ disorder or TMD) and tooth grinding or tooth clenching, also known as bruxism. These conditions can further affect your mouth; tooth grinding can result in worn-down teeth and enamel damage like fractures, chips and cracks, while TMD can severely impact your jaw joints, causing pain, stiffness and loss of use.
If you're feeling the effects of anxiety, we recommend that you let us know so we can help you mitigate its impact on your oral health. Call Legends Dental now in Waco, Texas, at 294-254-4040.