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Keeping Your Teeth Healthy During Stressful Times

Damian Vines

Stress can wreak havoc on your overall health. It can cause aches and pains, fatigue, digestive issues, and even increase your risk of certain illnesses. 

While most people understand the negative effects of stress, they don’t often associate those problems with teeth and oral health. 

But, it can have a bigger impact than you might realize. Some of the effects of stress can directly affect the health of your teeth and influence your choices to make oral health care something on the back burner, rather than a priority. 

Let’s take a closer look at how stress impacts your oral health, and how to keep your teeth healthy when you’re overwhelmed by stressful situations. 

Putting a Stop to Teeth Grinding

One of the biggest problems people who are stressed face is having trouble sleeping. Maybe you can’t get your mind to stop racing. Maybe you toss and turn each night. Even if you can get to sleep, your body not be able to fully relax. As a result, you’re more likely to grind your teeth while you sleep. Doing so can cause problems like: 

  • Chipped teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitivity
  • Tongue indentation
  • Pain in your temples

Prolonged teeth grinding can become a major issue that requires you to see a dentist. Obviously, the best thing you can do is to lower your stress levels to reduce grinding, but you can also take some steps to protect your teeth in the meantime, including wearing a mouthguard or practicing jaw exercises. 

You should also make sure you have an optimal sleep environment, shutting out noise and light, keeping your room cool, and using the right mattress to keep you comfortable. Develop a sleep routine that you can follow each night to improve your chances of getting a good night’s rest. Teeth grinding is only one problem that can occur from “stressful sleep”, so don’t take things like insomnia or tossing and turning lightly. 

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Practicing Better Oral Hygiene

When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, it’s easy to forget about basic things like taking care of your oral health. Self-care often takes a back seat. You also might be trying to find comfort in high-sugar foods that can cause plaque and decay. That combination can be a nightmare for your teeth. 

You might also ignore routine things like dental cleanings and check-ups to ensure your mouth and teeth are healthy. You might not enjoy going to the dentist, but doing it regularly, even if it’s just for a cleaning, can make a big difference. Your oral health is linked to so many other things that having a dental professional look things over at least once a year can keep you healthier than you probably realize. 

It’s important to find a dentist who can empathize with your situation. Comfortable communication with your dental provider, especially if you’re nervous or stressed about seeing one, can make all the difference in the world. You’ll be more comfortable, more confident, and more willing to keep coming back for the oral healthcare you need. 

Regularly visiting a dentist can also encourage and inspire you to take better care of your oral health at home. It doesn’t take much to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and limiting sugar are all great ways to get started and they don’t take a lot of time or effort. 

Keeping your teeth healthy during stressful times is an important form of self-care. Not only will you have a brighter smile, but you can avoid more serious health complications that could occur later on. As a bonus, taking care of your oral health could inspire you to focus on other areas of health and wellness in your life, too. When you’re under a lot of stress, that should always be a priority.

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