Holiday Stress and Your Teeth
With parties to attend, gifts to buy, and expectations to meet, the holidays can be stressful. And stress can be detrimental to your health—even inside your mouth! High stress levels can lead to a host of dental problems. So, it’s important to talk to your dentist and try your best to lesson or remove stressors from your daily life.
One of the dental problems frequently associated with stress is known as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ). TMJ is a complex set of symptoms which relate to jaw pain. While TMJ can be caused by mouth trauma, disc displacement, or degenerative joint disease, it can also result from stress and anxiety. Stress triggers grinding and muscular contraction, which causes pain. The result of this pain increases stress levels even more, so a cycle begins. Some people try their best to avoid pain by limiting what they chew or limiting the amount of time they open their jaws to chew or talk. These behaviors can mitigate some of the discomfort associated with TMJ.
Bruxism & Stress:
The grinding and clenching of the teeth is known as “bruxism.” This behavior typically happens when the patient is asleep and unaware that they are grinding their teeth. Unfortunately, repetitive grinding can lead to serious dental complications.
Do you brux your teeth? You might grind your teeth if you experience:
- Headaches and sore jaw muscles
- Hypersensitive teeth, which are a result of grinding away layers of tooth enamel
- Damaged, cracked or missing fillings and dental crowns can result from excessive grinding and clenching.
- Do the tips of your teeth appear flat? This could be the result of grinding your teeth.
Dr. Sayegh and the expert staff at Implant-a-Smile can examine your teeth and evaluate your symptoms to determine whether you brux. In addition to diagnosis, we can come up with a treatment plan to help alleviate the pain, minimize further damage, and repair affected teeth. Possible treatment options include dental devices such as custom-made splints or orthodontics, to improve alignment of teeth, which may reduce grinding.
- Canker sores can flare up during periods of high stress. These sores can cause discomfort that could become problematic if they dissuade the patient from properly brushing and flossing sensitive areas.
- Periodontal journals point to a relationship between elevated stress levels and gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Stress can also lead to increased oral bacteria, since stressful situations overtax the immune system.
Tips to reduce holiday-related dental stress:
Reducing stress from the holiday season can improve dental health (not to mention making the holidays more enjoyable!):
- Stay organized. Record commitments so you can stay on top of parties, appointments and obligations.
- Learn to say “no.” You don’t need to accept invitations to every holiday gathering. Don’t be afraid to turn down invitations if you feel overextended.
- Don’t push for perfection. The holidays should be joyful and fun, not a time for rigid perfection. Try not to worry if your decorations aren’t up to par with the ones you see on HGTV or if your turkey doesn’t look like it appeared on an episode of Food Network.
- Move and rest your body. Good health means eating right, getting substantial exercise during the day and plenty of sleep at night.
- Don’t forget to take care of your teeth. Brush two or more times a day, floss to remove sugary holiday sweets, and proactively talk to your dentist if you experience oral pain or redness. For more holiday tips for your teeth, click here to read last week’s post.
About Implant a Smile
Dr. Antoine Sayegh & the ImplantaSmile Team use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 963-7581.