Christmas is almost here and the panic is beginning to set in, Christmas Shopping! If you haven’t finished up collecting gifts for your loved ones yet, last minute shopping can pile stress into your life. South Charlotte Dentistry wants you to be aware of the effects that stress can have your oral health. Whether you are rushing to finish that Christmas shopping or anxious about the family coming to visit, stress can do a number on your pearly whites.
The holiday season brings out the best of times and the worst of times. It’s the season of giving, joy, and celebration. It’s the time to enjoy the company of loved ones, eat delicious food, and participate in holiday rituals. This make the season a favorite for many and one of the most enjoyable times of the year. At the same time, it is also a holiday that can make stress levels rise. The holidays mean lots of shopping, cleaning for family, a crowded house, and no privacy. The season also means weight gain from Christmas treats and stained teeth from extra coffee and wine. With all of this excitement and extra stress, your teeth are at risk. Canker sores, dry mouth, gum inflammation, stained teeth, jaw clenching, you name it your oral health is at risk.
Teeth grinding or jaw clenching is technically known as Bruxism. Teeth grinding is a common nervous habit or is often something people do while they’re sleeping. Most people do it and don’t even notice or even realize it is happening. One of the major causes of Bruxism is stress. Whether you do it as a nervous wake habit or unconsciously from stress while you are sleeping, it is none the less damaging to your teeth.
Research has shown that people with high stress levels in their lives are more likely to suffer bruxism. It may seem like a harmless habit but grinding your teeth and clenching your jaws can be very damaging to your oral health; it wears down your teeth. It causes a person’s teeth to become very sensitive and can even lead to loose teeth or fractured teeth. This is not an easy fix. Apart from causing harm to your teeth it can also affect other areas of your health by causing headaches, a sore jaw, and other health concerns.
This Christmas holiday, make sure you are keeping your stress levels under control. Relax, unwind, and treat yourself. Eat some extra holiday treats and enjoy the season, don’t get drawn into the stress of this whirlwind season. Just because you have a lot of holiday shopping to finish doesn’t mean you should risk your oral health. If you think you might be suffering from sleep bruxism, we can fit you for a night guard to protect your teeth.
Temporomandibular (TMD) disorders affects the joints in your jaw. This affects the way a person talks, chews food, and opens the mouth. Clenching your jaw can cause negative effects if done over a long period of time. Common systems of this health concern are:
- Jaw Pain
- Pain in either of the temporomandibular joints
- Ear aches or pain
- Experiencing pain while eating food
- Facial aches or pain
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- A clicking or grating sensation when opening the mouth
If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to take action and make an appointment with South Charlotte Dentistry. This disorder can have long term effects on the way your mouth opens and closes, will wear down your teeth, can cause your teeth to become sensitive, and may cause headaches.
Canker sores are a common reflection of stress. Whether you have a nervous habit of biting your cheeks, brushing too aggressively, or just generally higher stress, it can often cause canker sores. Canker sores are small sores that develop in the inside of your mouth, they form on the side of cheeks and on the base of the gum. They are not contagious but they can be irritating and cause pain.
Although they can get confused sometimes, canker sores are not the same thing as cold sores. Cold sores are caused by a virus and are extremely contagious. They occur around the outside of the mouth and canker sores appear inside the cheeks and on the gums.
Holiday stress can cause things like simple, yet painful canker sores. This type of stress induced sore generally only last around a week. These sores are nothing to be too concerned about but are very uncomfortable and make simple things like eating and talking a little painful.
Dry mouth. This may not seem very serious but dry mouth can lead to many other oral problems and is proven to occur during the holidays. Stress can inhibit the saliva glands production causing dry mouth to occur. Not only that, dry mouth is often listed as a symptom on prescription drugs used to help people with their stress levels. During the holidays, stress levels, certain holiday foods, and alcoholic beverages can increase the risk of suffering dry mouth. While dry mouth isn’t too serious, it is uncomfortable and can eventually lead to more severe problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
To reduce dry mouth symptoms and protect your oral health make sure to:
- Drink Water: It is suggested that you drink about 3 liters of water a day so that you stay properly hydrated.
- Chew Sugar-Free Gum: Sugar-free candies or gum are shown to stimulate the flow of saliva, simply due to the act of chewing.
- Avoid Caffeine: Caffeine actually dries out the mouth which will not help your dry mouth symptoms. Consider drinking a caffeine-free alternative to coffee, tea, or soda instead.
- Try To Stop Mouth-Breathing: Breathing through your mouth can cause the air flow to dry out your mouth. When you’re face is resting, try breathing through your nose to reduce exposure to air.
- Use a Humidifier: Because dry air can be a factor in drying out your mouth, using a humidifier to add moisture to the room is a good idea.
Tooth decay and gum disease are very serious and dry mouth can increase the chances of getting these disorders. Protect your oral health and take precautions this month. Don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth a little extra while over the holidays.
Don’t let stress ruin your holidays! Christmas is the time to celebrate but don’t put your health on the back burner. Relax and enjoy the season, this will help get your stress levels down. Remember to brush and floss your teeth, and schedule your next visit with us at South Charlotte Dentistry. We wish you a very merry Christmas from our dental family to you and your family.