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STRESS AND YOUR TEETH

A World the Size of a Tennis Ball:
Accessing the Oral Cavity

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.

     Dentists routinely see oral symptoms of stress intensified by increased cases of oral facial pain, jaw pain, herpes outbreaks (cold sore), headaches, lack of sleep and temporomandibular disorders (TMD).  At the first sign of oral pain or infection, itís important to see your dentist.  These symptoms may be your mouthís warning signs for more serious health risks.  Dentists know that stress and stress-related disorders including mental illnesses such as depression are contributing factors 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.

    After a complete examination and diagnosis of the oral problems and screening for linked stress-related disorders, your dentist can help patients by referring them to a medical specialist.  This team treatment between your 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.  Itís hard for most people to identify how much stress theyíre experiencing and to what degree itís affecting their body until they get sick. Regular six-month dental check-ups are a first-line of defense for detecting stress related disorders early.

Dentalnotes, pg 2, Winter 2002.

  February 06, 2008

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