The holidays are a stressful time of the year. If you’re getting less sleep or rushing around trying to find the perfect gifts, stress levels can be at an all-time high. Chronic stress can affect your overall wellness and increase your risk of various health problems. Did you know that stress can also affect your dental health? Although it is only a few weeks out of the year, stress can cause irreversible damage to your smile. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to find time to relax to combat stress.
Teeth are strong, but they aren’t any match for bruxism. Stress can cause a subconscious habit of grinding and clenching your teeth. Over time, this can weaken your enamel, wear down your gums, and may cause your teeth to loosen. Bruxism can also cause facial pain, headaches, and more.
Your dentist can provide you with a nightguard to protect your pearly whites. The custom-fit device creates a cushion between your upper and lower teeth to absorb the friction.
A Dry Mouth
When your body becomes stressed, you can produce less saliva, which can make your mouth dry. When combined with sugary holiday foods and drinks, harmful oral bacteria can get out of control quickly. A dry mouth is a great environment for bacteria, increasing your risk of cavities, gum disease, and odors.
Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum can encourage saliva production to keep your mouth moist. It’s important to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and your mouth moist. Strive to drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water daily. Every sip will also cleanse your teeth to keep them clean between brushing and flossing.
Canker sores can be triggered by stress. The small sores aren’t contagious and heal in 1-2 weeks. You can purchase OTC medications to reduce pain and help the sore heal quickly.
Manage Your Holiday Stress
Although the holidays are stressful, you must find time to unwind. A brisk 30-minute walk can reduce stress and improve your health by staying active. Yoga, meditation, and reading can also help you decrease stress.
Schedule a cleaning and checkup with your dentist. They’ll ensure your teeth and gums are healthy. Your dentist can spot early signs of bruxism and other issues that can affect your dental health after the holidays pass.
About Dr. Steven Bizzell
Dr. Bizzell earned his dental degree from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and continued his education for 3 years to specialize in periodontics. In addition to a certificate in periodontology, he also specializes in implant dentistry. Request an appointment through his website or call (347) 537-6172.