Stress and Your Oral Health - Corbet Locke D.D.S. Corbet Locke D.D.S. in Woodway
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Stress and Your Oral Health

added on: October 21, 2011

Stress can affect your entire body. Stress can manifest into adverse physical conditions. Some people bite their nails, some pull or twist their hair, and others grind their teeth. But what are some of the effects of stress on your oral health?

Mouth Sores

There are two kinds of mouth sores: cankers sores and cold sores

Canker sores are small red ulcers with a white base. They can appear alone, in pairs, or in large numbers.  Canker sores aren’t contagious and normally disappear after a week or so. You can avoid irritating them by not eating acidic or hot foods. Over-the-counter ointments are also available to help. Experts aren’t entirely sure of what causes canker sores, but stress is definitely one possibility.

Cold sores (also known as fever blisters) are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are contagious and filled with fluid. They normally appear around the lips and are triggered by stress. They normally disappear after awhile, but there are medicines you can take alleviate the outbreaks.

Teeth Grinding

Stress can cause you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth. Grinding your teeth can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This disorder is chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the joint that connects the mandible to the skull. TMD can lead to many dental problems, including tooth loss and pulpitis, which is inflammation of the dental pulp (inside teeth).

Some symptoms of TMD:

  • Clicking or popping when the jaw opens or closes
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • Pain the in the face, jaw, head, and neck
  • Locked or limited jaw movement

You can contact Dr. Locke for information on TMD and find out about TMJ therapy. Just call 254-776-4888 to make an appointment at our Waco, TX office, or visit our website at

Posted In: Oral Health, TMJ