Life is always busy and, as a result, it can be stressful, too. This past year, it’s no secret that everyone has had to endure more stress and anxiety than usual. Unfortunately, stress can take a physical toll on our bodies — teeth and gums included.
4 Ways Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health
Stress spurs on a condition called bruxism, clenching and grinding your teeth during the day or while asleep (sleep bruxism). This wears down enamel, leads to chipped or broken teeth, and can contribute to other painful symptoms like headaches and jaw pain.
2. TMJ Disorder
Stress that leads to the overuse of the jaw muscle can worsen symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, causing painful lockjaw and muscle soreness.
3. Dry Mouth
Stress (along with dehydration) can contribute to a condition called dry mouth. When the salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva, the mouth becomes dry which can cause discomfort and lead to tooth decay.
Stress can also weaken the immune system, leaving your mouth vulnerable to health problems like canker sores and infections such as periodontal disease.
De-Stress and Protect Your Teeth
Eliminating the stress from your life (especially when you’re currently experiencing it) might seem impossible, but there are some simple activities that can increase tranquility and protect your teeth including:
Exercise - Whether you sign up for an online yoga class or have a living room dance party, exercise triggers the release of feel-good endorphins.
Eat Right - Get all the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals you need for a strong immune system and healthy teeth.
Connect - Make time for your favorite people. Take an outdoor, socially distanced walk or schedule a video chat.
Hobbies - Focus on a hobby you've always wanted to try.
Meditate - Start a meditation practice to relieve stress and enjoy additional health benefits, too.
Unwind - To prevent sleep bruxism, stop working well before it's time to go to bed, turn off the news, and settle into a relaxing activity like reading, listening to music, or taking a bath.
Schedule a Dental Exam in Orange, CA
We also recommend scheduling a dental checkup, especially if you have delayed your dental care. At Dr. Christopher J. Fotinos & Dr. Randy A. Rosales Cosmetic & General Dentistry, we’re taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of all our patients and staff. We’ll take a look at your teeth and help you find the best ways to protect your smile from all the stress of life.