No one likes being stressed. Stress makes every task a little harder and can worsen problems with our job, our relationships, and our finances. Even worse, stress has a significant impact on our health. Our dental health is one area that is greatly impacted by stress.
Stress affects our body in basically two ways. First, stress leads us to adopt bad habits and behaviours that hurt our body. Second, stress can actually cause symptoms that lead to more health problems. Together bad habits and stress symptoms can severely impact our health.
Of course, simply pointing out the health problems of stress doesn’t actually reduce stress (in fact, it could increase it). Telling you to chill out doesn’t help you confront your problems. Instead, let’s explore the different dental health problems that stress can cause and ways to overcome them. This way you can focus on the problems that cause you the most stress and not add to your stress by trying to do too much.
Keep Doing the Basics
When you are stressed, you naturally want to focus on your problems rather than focusing on good dental habits. Brushing and flossing your teeth doesn’t seem to rank as high as balancing the family budget. Plus, you might want to enjoy comfort food when there is a big project at work.
However, when we let routine dental health habits go, we are more likely to get cavities and develop gum disease. In addition, when we lose good habits, we make it harder to pick them back up again. This allows for more severe dental problems in the future, as well as the need for dental procedures to repair any damage.
One way to keep good dental habits when we are stressed is to make goals to brush, floss, and eat healthy. When we are stressed, the only way to reduce that stress is to tackle individual problems one at a time and piece by piece. This gives us strength to move on to other problems. If you meet small goals like brushing and flossing daily, it will help you meet larger goals and reduce your stress level.
Stop Grinding your Teeth
Your body adopts odd behaviours when you are stressed. This is especially true in your sleep. If you are stressed, you tend to sleep less. This not only worsens your stress but can also lead you to grind your teeth in your sleep.
Known as bruxism, teeth grinding represents a significant danger to your dental health. Bruxism wears down your teeth and erodes your enamel. Bruxism can also lead to jaw problems because grinding overworks your jaw muscles.
Having a healthy sleep regimen is a good way to reduce stress and stop grinding your teeth. If you have pain in your jaw or notice your teeth wearing down, you should go to your dentist. He can diagnose bruxism and give you a mouth guard to stop your midnight teeth-grinding.
Protect Your Jaw from TMJ/TMD
Your stress level causes a good deal of muscle strain throughout your body, including your jaw. If your jaw is too strained, it develops a condition called TMD or TMJ. TMJ occurs when your jaw muscles are overused and tighten so much that opening your mouth becomes difficult and painful.
Symptoms of TMJ can be very intense and painful. Your jaw clicks and even shifts when you open and close it. You feel pain across your face as you speak and chew. In the worst cases, TMJ can even cause major headaches, earaches, and back pain.
The treatments for TMJ are diverse and numerous. Basic behavioural changes can reduce stress and get you a better night sleep. A mouth guard can prevent your jaw from shifting in your sleep. If your muscles are considerably clenched, your Edmonton dentist can also begin laser treatments to reduce inflammation and pain.
Keep Your Mouth Free from Sores
Stress also leaves us vulnerable to ailments, including canker sores and cold sores. Certain systems in our body become overactive when we are stressed. This strain allows sores to form.
Canker sores have no known cause, but they do tend to flare up during stressful periods. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. When we are stressed, our ability to prevent outbreaks is reduced. Both sore types can be very painful, and cold sores are even contagious.
Treat mouth sores by avoiding potential irritants until the sores disappear. You should avoid acidic, spicy, and hot foods. For canker sores, you can apply an anesthetic to gain relief from any pain. Cold sores can be treated with antivirals and over-the-counter treatment products.
Overcoming stress can be a hard battle, and the task isn’t made any easier when other medical problems are added in the mix. However, instead of stressing over major changes, you should implement simple plans to slowly reduce the number of problems you have to deal with. Maintaining good dental health is one of the small things you can do to overcome larger stressors. Use our tips to keep your mouth healthy and make your life easier.