Let’s face it, we all get stressed. It’s the body’s response to our crazy, on-the-go lives. Too often though, we become so accustomed to the physical and emotional symptoms of stress, that we stop paying attention. Well, somebody notices, and chances are it’s your dentist.
Researchers have found that when stress attacks, it often shows up in your mouth first. In fact, stress has been linked to a number of oral health issues. Grinding or clenching the jaw, known as bruxism, is one of the most common ways stress manifests. (See our winter driving post (Link to Post) for more on that.)
Between 80 and 90 percent of the population suffers from varying degrees of bruxism. It occurs for many different reasons; however, it is typically known as a coping mechanism for stress. Canker sores, dry mouth and gum disease are also indicators of stress.
Steps to Avoid a Stressed-Out Smile:
Lay off the caffeine
Coffee, soda and energy drinks all have caffeine, which is a stimulant that increases your energy and anxiety levels and can result in more teeth grinding.
Work it out
A daily workout during lunch or after work can help dispel any nervous energy that you’ve built up throughout the day.
Stick to the basics
As directed by your dentist, and reinforced by your mom, brush your teeth twice a day using a circular motion (and don’t forget your tongue), floss daily, use mouthwash and be sure to visit the dentist twice annually.
While stressed out, remain vigilant in your oral hygiene regimen or you’ll end up losing a lot more than your mind. So the next time you feel like your whole world has been turned upside down, just remember to take a deep breath and smile.