Let’s face it, the holidays are a stressful time of the year. Between shopping for the perfect gifts, preparing tasty meals, and traveling, life can get pretty chaotic. You might battle irritability, fatigue, and other issues that affect your quality of life, but seasonal stress can also harm your dental health. Here are a few risks you can face if you don’t manage your stress during the holidays.
Teeth grinding and clenching is a subconscious way for our bodies to deal with stress. Often, it occurs while sleeping, so you may not be aware you have bruxism. It isn’t until your teeth are damaged or you develop a TMJ disorder that you are diagnosed with it. Symptoms of bruxism may include jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, and headaches.
Your dentist can provide you with a nightguard to safeguard your pearly whites. It creates a protective barrier between the upper and lower arches to absorb the friction. Not only will this save your teeth, but it can also relieve symptoms of TMJ disorders.
Stress, alcohol, and caffeine can cause your body to produce less saliva, which can make your mouth dry. A dry mouth is a great environment for oral bacteria growth that can increase your risk of cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.
Limiting alcohol and caffeine will help you avoid dehydration to keep your mouth moist. Chewing sugar-free gum increases saliva production to reduce a dry mouth. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Every sip will also cleanse your teeth to keep them healthy.
Canker sores are small oral ulcers that can occur inside the mouth. Contrary to common belief, they aren’t contagious. They can be caused by trauma, like biting your cheek; however, stress can also trigger them. High cortisol levels have been linked to canker sores, according to a study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry.
Besides chewing your food carefully to avoid biting your cheeks, practice stress-relieving exercises to prevent canker sores. A brisk 30-minute walk, yoga, or meditation are great ways to manage stress levels.
Protect Your Dental Health from Stress
You can ensure the holidays don’t negatively affect your dental health by committing to good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once per day. Don’t forget to visit your dentist for your semi-annual cleaning and checkup.
About Dr. Sharon Schrott
Dr. Schrott specializes in prosthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, and dental implants. She achieved her DDS/DMD degree and continued her education for 3 years to become a prosthodontist. She regularly continues her education to provide the most up-to-date services. Request an appointment through her website or call (617) 977-5266.