Now that the holidays are over, many of us have settled back into our routines with work, school, and family. For some of us, that could mean going back to dealing with an enormous amount of stress. We’re sure that most of our readers know that an excess amount of stress over a long period of time can have disastrous effects on our health. Increased cortisol levels, lower immune efficiency, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of developing systemic diseases are just some of the ways our body will be affected by stress. However, most people wouldn’t assume that stress can also have a huge impact on oral health. Although oral health may not be the first thing to come to mind when it comes to stress, your pearly whites can endure quite a bit of damage. To explain further on the relationship between stress and oral health, Dr. Mark Tall is blogging from his practice in Idaho Falls, ID.
Grinding your teeth: This is the most obvious and often most harmful way that stress can affect our dental health. In many instances, grinding or clenching our teeth, also known as bruxism, can occur while we sleep. When we fall asleep, the stress in our life is manifested through our sleep grinding. After a prolonged amount of time, you can wear away at your teeth, which will then increases the likelihood of chips and cracks in your teeth.
Biting your nails: If you bite your nails when you get anxious, this could be another sign that you grind in your sleep. Studies have shown that nail biters are more prone to grinding or clenching their jaws than people that don’t bite their nails. Biting your nails is also dangerous for your teeth because the pressure from biting down can cause chips, cracks or wear on your teeth. Biting sharp fingernails can also cause damage to your gums and increase bacteria in your mouth from germs in your nail bed.
Forgetting your oral hygiene routine: In the wake of stressful times, we can often forget about important routines in our daily lives. One routine that you should never forget about is your oral hygiene routine. You should brush twice a day and floss at least once in order to avoid oral health problems later down the road.
Skipping out on dental appointments: If you have a packed schedule, make sure to still make dental appointments a priority. Not going to your dentist regularly can allow for minor issues to escalate into big oral health problems. Whether you have a stressful, busy life or not, you should always have regular appointments in order to prevent issues with you oral health in the long run.
Canker sores: The exact cause of canker sores is still being researched, but they have found a correlation between canker sores and stress or lack of sleep. These small ulcers that develop on the tongue or inside of the cheek can often be painful and add even more stress to an individual.
Poor habits like tobacco use or excess alcohol: When some people are under a significant amount of stress, they can turn to smoking or alcohol to take the edge off. These habits are not only bad for your overall health, but they are also harmful to your oral health.
If you think stress is negatively affecting your life and oral health, there are several methods for coping with stress. For the sake of your own happiness and smile, we recommend exploring different options. Here’s a brief look at great ways to overcome excess stress in your life:
Practice different breathing exercises
Find hobbies to relax with
Take a break from what is causing the stress
Get support from friends and family
Keep a positive attitude
It’s important to realize that dealing with a lot of stress can have a negative impact on your quality of life and overall health. Consider doing your health, happiness, and teeth a favor by tackling your stress issues head on.
If you’ve noticed a negative impact on your teeth due to stress, we offer plenty of services that can get your smile back into mint condition. We encourage you to browse around this site to learn about your options as far as restorative or cosmetic dentistry. To get started, contact our office in Idaho Falls to schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Tall.