In times of high stress, the last thing on many people’s list is their dental health. But it shouldn’t be.
Your oral health is related to the health of your body, and when you’re stressed out, both are under attack. By paying attention to the signs that stress is starting to impact your dental health and implementing solutions that work for you, you can keep your teeth and gums in top condition.
Stress Can Make You Grind Your Teeth
Stress is a significant contributor to the development of bruxism, or teeth grinding. Many people subconsciously clench or grind their teeth when stressed, which damages the teeth and gums. It can also cause temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), headaches, earaches, balance problems, and pain in your jaw.
Bruxism is usually treated by the patient wearing a specially fitted mouthguard at night that protects the teeth from grinding and clenching. Holistic solutions for teeth grinding can include temporal and jaw massage, relaxing aromatherapy, and meditation.
Stress Increases Your Risk of Gum Infections
It’s a well known fact that stress has an impact on a person’s health and wellness, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Stress lowers the body’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria, leading to more frequent and chronic illnesses. This includes gum disease.
Treatment for gum disease or periodontal disease is usually a deep cleaning. This is different from a regular teeth cleaning and goes deep into the pockets underneath the gum line to clean out bacteria. Good brushing and flossing habits are also critical to the prevention of gum disease.
Stress Can Increase Alcohol and Tobacco Use
It’s not uncommon for people to reach for substances like alcohol and tobacco when times are difficult. However, these aren’t great for your body – or your teeth. Certain types of alcohol, like wine, can stain your teeth and cause you to need to have them professionally whitened. Tobacco also stains the teeth, but moreover, it increases the risk of mouth and lung cancer.
Practicing good stress management can help you avoid alcohol and tobacco use. Here are some ideas on how you can start reducing stress right now:
- Get off the phone. Today’s electronics are gateways to the entire world and everyone’s at least a little bit guilty of spending too much time scrolling. But scrolling through news, political forums, and even just your social media feeds can have you feeling stressed out in no time. Try limiting screen time when you’re feeling frustrated or on edge, and ideally, plan for some screen-free time each day.
- Improve your diet. What you eat has an impact on how you feel daily. When you eat processed foods with little nutrition, you’re starving your brain of vital nutrients and vitamins that help you fight stress. Start incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, choose lean meats, and avoid packaged foods when possible.
- Practice self-care. Get to know what you need to recharge your batteries and schedule time to do it every day, every week, and every month.
How a San Francisco Holistic Dentist Can Help
At Green Dentistry, we know that stress can impact your dental health and going to the dentist can cause stress. We offer a relaxing, spa-like environment and can help you feel comfortable during your visit.
Our San Francisco holistic dentist offers a wide variety of noninvasive, natural dental treatments. Call today for your appointment at (415) 433-0119.
A graduate of the University of Southern California and the University of California’s School of Dentistry, Dr. Patel is a leader in the movement to bring environmental sanity and well-being into the dental world. As a trusted dentist, Dr. Patel provides her patients with more than just world-class dental care — she helps them recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health. She is also a ForbesBooks and Amazon best-selling author.