The last couple of months of the year are a happy time for many people. However, heightened stress levels are also common. Between shopping, arranging to attend events, and other tasks, some individuals start to feel overwhelmed. If that is true of you, it is important that you take steps to protect your smile from the effects of seasonal stress. How can stress affect your oral health, and how can you minimize the damage? This blog post explains.
How Stress Affects Oral Health
When you are going through a stressful period, you are at an increased risk of:
- Bruxism. Also called teeth grinding and clenching, bruxism is more common among individuals who are experiencing heightened stress. Over time, it can wear down tooth enamel and even cause cracks in teeth.
- Canker sores. Also called mouth ulcers, these painful spots occur more commonly during times of elevated stress.
- Dry mouth. Stress can reduce saliva production, leading to a dry mouth. In turn, a dry mouth can increase the risk of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
Protecting Your Smile
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the impact of seasonal stress on your oral health:
- Take time to relax. Try to keep some time open in your schedule so you can go for a walk, take a hot bath, or do something else that helps you unwind.
- Get enough sleep. Stress is exacerbated by sleep deprivation, so do all you can to sleep for 7 – 8 hours each night.
- Eat a balanced diet. During this time of year, it can be easy to overindulge in sugary treats. Make sure to consume lots of nutritious foods so you will feel better overall.
- Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated can minimize the effects of a dry mouth.
- Talk to your dentist. Your dentist may recommend that you wear a mouthguard at night to prevent nocturnal bruxism. If your oral health has already been harmed by stress, they can help to get things back on track.
- Seek mental health care if necessary. If your stress is starting to seriously affect your health or relationships with others, it may be best to talk to a mental health professional about what you are going through.
Seasonal stress should not be allowed to wreck your precious smile. Do all you can to protect your oral health during this busy time of year.
Meet the Practice
Dr. J.D. Robison is an experienced dentist who has a strong focus on providing personalized care to each patient. He understands the effects that stress can have, so he and our team go the extra mile to help our patients feel welcome and comfortable in our office. To learn how we can assist you as you strive to maintain a healthy smile, contact our Canton, MI, office at 734-453-6320.