Yes, in today’s world anxiety and stress are the major reasons for any type of disease. But relation between stress and anxiety has not been properly linked with dental problems.
We as dentist are just concerned about pain and aesthetics. Dr.Sahil Singh, a Dentist in Gurgaon, is one of the few dentists in India, who could establish a link between stress and dental problems. If a person is a smoker or tobacco chewer, we blame the person or tobacco for the dental problems he faces but we are just not concerned about the real reason for his/her habit. Yes people take up such habits because of stress and these habits increases the stress in return.
The cycle goes on.
Diseases like diabetes have direct relation with stress and lifestyle of the patient. Stress can lead to poor lifestyle choices that can adversely affect the oral health.
In ‘the world oral health report’ published by WHO, it is stated that the rapidly changing (oral) disease patterns throughout the world are closely linked to changing lifestyles which include diet rich in sugars ,widespread use of tobacco and increased consumption of alcohol.
The potential fallout from stress and anxiety that can affect our oral health includes:
1) Mouth sores, including canker sores and cold sores.
2) Poor oral hygiene and unhealthy eating routines
3) Periodontal diseases or worsening of existing periodontal diseases
5) Dry mouth
6) Burning mouth syndrome
7) Lichen planus
9) TMJ disorders and many more.
Corporate office culture and growing demand of junk food among kids and in schools are big issues which we are ignoring. Because of the work pressure and timings, people working in odd hours are readily prone to smoke, high sugar junk food and alcohol. They hardly get time to go for regular health checkups or exercises. If you go nearby any corporate office, you will find maximum of people including a good number of females smoking and eating high sugar junk food. Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between smoking, high sugar food and stress or anxiety, which in turn has a very negative effect on teeth and gum health of an individual.
If we talk about schools, yes they are taught about a balanced and healthy diet but high sugar fried food is readily available in maximum of private school canteens. There is nowhere in the curriculum how to brush and how to maintain good oral health. Yes, the famous line is there “BRUSH TWICE DAILY”. What about the whole day? Eating, rinsing
It is hard to find a school where regular dental awareness programs are running. Yes the so called dental checkups are conducted. But unless you educate there is no point in check ups.
One of the most disturbing parts is that oral health is directly linked to child abuse and neglect but we hardly bother to establish this relationship or fact.
More than 60% of children under the age of 14 are victims and it is taught at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. The victims of child abuse (especially child sexual abuse) have a very high level of depression or anxiety. They are prone to habits like bruxism, bruxomania, nail-biting, lip biting, cheek biting, tongue thrusting, and many more. Such children and parents usually ignore oral health. We as dentists are ready to give them habit-breaking appliances but usually ignore the reason behind all such habits. We hardly talk to children or parents regarding such matters and hardly think of taking psychological or psychiatric help or counseling.
Oral health is overall health and it includes the mental well being of a person also. Another way that stress can lead to dental problems is simply not taking care of your teeth because of sadness or depression. It gets hard to take care of everyday things when you are stressed out and you may stop seeing your dentist for your regular checkups.