COVID 19 PANDEMIC RELATED STRESS AND DENTAL HEALTH

THE MIND ACTS LIKE AN ENEMY FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT CONTROL IT”
                                                                                                               THE BHAGWAD GITA

The complete lockdown phase during the Coronavirus disease (COVID 19) pandemic has brought many people on the verge of mental health issues including stress and anxiety. The pandemic has paused the life of lakhs of people playing on their minds and causing stress. The stigma attached to mental health prevents people to talk about it even with their near and dear ones. In reality, Mental health is any other disease which affects the mind, thinking and behaviour of one. Psychoneuroimmunology is a new term that has popped up this pandemic which clearly describes that if a person is stressed biologically, he is definitely stressed psychologically, hence affecting the immune system. In this situation, any foreign body attack to your body will have an overwhelming attack to you and your body systems.

                     In the language of Sanskrit, the difference between the words stress and funeral pyre is just one extra dot. The pyre burns a dead body, and stress burns the living. The changing pattern in the regular behaviour is the tell tale sign of a person having stress or mental disorder. Stress for any person can change or drastically affects his physical and psychological well being.

                     Oral health remains no untouched by mental disorders. Different studies in different times have very much proved that a person with mental health issues have typical presentations in and around his mouth including the teeth, saliva, tongue or even the joint that helps in chewing the food. Let us discuss it one by one and understand the importance of healthy mind on the functions of our mouth and surrounding areas.

                      A stressed person is seen with the habit of clenching or grinding the teeth mostly in the night time. The medical terminology used for such grinded teeth is used as attrition or attrited teeth. The height of the tooth seen in the mouth, i.e., the crown portion is severly reduced and the teeth become sensitive to the hot and cold things that you eat or drink. Also, as the frequency of grinding is more at night, you may actually be not aware of what you are doing. In addition to this, the regular clenching or grinding of teeth can affect your temporomandibular joint, the same joint because of which you are able to move your jaw upwards or downwards and sidewards helping in chewing the food, speaking, laughing and other such activities. The resorption of the joint or the muscular stress in the area may further aggravate the situation. The stressor muscular spasm may lead to unbearable pain in the area or can even lead to the reduced mouth opening affecting the daily cycle.

                       The saliva in the patients with some mental disease has been found to be reduced, firstly because of the stress and secondly because of the medicines taken to tackle the stress. Hence, the problem of dry mouth enhances many other problems in such people. In many of the patients, it has been seen that the people fighting with their mental stress find it difficult to maintain a proper oral hygiene by not brushing the teeth, or using a floss, or a tongue scraper. As saliva is the mouth’s first line of defence system fighting against various viruses and bacteria, now in the absence of saliva and practicing an unhealthy lifestyle leads to the tooth decay or infections in the gums leading to their bleeding. Also, in the presence of reduced salivary flow in the mouth, patient complains of burning sensations in the mouth usually on the tongue or cheek area. Such presentation of burning sensation is medically described as burning mouth syndrome. You can learn more about BURNING MOUTH SYNDROME using the URL https://www.oraheal.in/is-your-mouth-being-a-fire-escape/

                      Higher the stress, lower is your immune system and greater are the chances of infection. Many immune related diseases find their way in this process. The most common being your gum disease. The infection in the gums leads to their inflammation. Lichen planus, the immune related disease is found in the patients with stress disorders. It presents as white striae pattern or lacy lines that can be found anywhere inside the mouth, most commonly on the cheek area. The patient suffers from severe burning sensation and sometimes even pain. The pain and burning sensation sometimes aggravates to the point that the patient is unable to eat or drink anything.

                     The common mouth ulcers called by canker sores or aphthous ulcers though harmless but are painful to the point to make the patient unable to do even daily life activities. To learn about the aphthous ulcers, you can always visit https://www.oraheal.in/canker-sores-the painful-mouth-ulcers/

                    Apart from the above described presentations, it is widely seen that the patients suffering from stress disorders presents with atypical pain presentations. It means that the patient complains of severe, continuous or intermediate pain with no clinical presentation. A proper diagnosis in such cases is extremely important for proper managing the complaints of the patient.

                  The role of the dental professionals seems to be very important in such cases where the oral findings are related to the stress or the mental burden of the patient. The oral medicine specialists can prove very helpful in reducing the load of the patients and serving the society towards a healthy platform. A timely diagnosis of the problem at the right time will prove helpful in improving the overall health of the patient. All the diseases discussed above can be cured under the guidance of a specialist.

                    Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace by affecting us in multiple ways and ruining our lives and lifestyle. BHAGWAD GITA says “Every moment in life is a new opportunity for you to fight against your enemies on earth: opposing desires, thoughts and emotions. It’s the door to heaven. Grab every one of these opportunities and fight. Fight for your true home- the home of reality.” This pandemic has come to teach us a lot about true essence of life. Now, it depends on one whether to take it as an opportunity and move forward and touch the sky heights or just keep worrying about the things on which we have no control and will destroy us in every way slowly and steadily.

THE CHOICE IS YOURS.

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