It’s a stressful time of year! Work has the added burden of the pre-Christmas break deadline, the kids are about to finish up the school year and there are the holidays to plan! You might be having house guests, cooking an important family meal (catering for everyone’s tastes and dietary requirements) buying gifts – carefully balancing the budget with the perfect representation of how much the recipient means to you and if your NOT hosting – the drive from place to place catching all the friends and relatives. It’s a wonderful time – but pulling it all together can take a lot of time and effort, which many of us just don’t have to spare. This can lead to stress, and stress can be really bad for your health.
Stress can affect your whole body, including your mouth, teeth, and gums in many ways:
Canker sores and fever blisters. Canker sores are small grey or white ulcers that appear in the mouth. A virus that lives in the body, which can be brought on by stress, causes cold sores, also called fever blisters.
Clenching or grinding your teeth –
Another problem caused by stress is tooth-grinding and/or clenching of the jaw (or bruxism). This is commonly caused by stress.
Did you know you could even grind your jaw in your sleep? It can lead to the wearing down of your molars, and cracking or fracturing of your teeth and also;
Headaches, neck aches, jaw pain, ear pain, ringing in the ears and sensitive teeth. Excessive clenching or tooth grinding can lead this condition: causing pain in your jaw, your face and even your ear. If you are clenching your jaw or have a tooth-grinding problem, you should see your dentist right away.
There are also ways that stress can cause other overall dental health issues – namely your Diet!
Stress seems to affect food preferences and you may end up consuming more sugary food than usual – causing more opportunities for dental cavities. Studies have shown physical or emotional distress increases the intake of food high in fat, sugar, or both.
To reduce stress overall – which will have a knock-on effect on your oral health try these methods:
Obviously you breathe constantly, but paying attention to your breathing and slowing it down you can start to feel less stressed.
Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which can help you to feel energised. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits: It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to increase the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters – endorphins.
Stretching & Yoga
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function.
Currently, the most likely theory regarding this comes from scientists at the University of Toyama in Japan, who think that fish oil may help activate serotonergic neurons (or neuropeptides), which are partially responsible for controlling mood, appetite, and even anger levels.
So to wrap up (see what we did there) we want to make sure everyone has a stress-free holiday period, to help your overall health and the health or your mouth, teeth, and gums. If there’s an issue with your oral health – don’t wait; speak to your dentist today.