High stress levels can affect just about every part of your body, including your mouth. No matter if you suffer from stress from work or your personal life, stress management is important at any age.
At Galleria of Smiles, your overall health is just as important to us as your oral health. We are more than happy to provide tips on how to better manage your stress while taking care of your mouth. Don’t let stress wreck your teeth, gums, and bones!
Stress & Oral Health
Stress is a factor for many health problems, including oral health. The most common oral health-related conditions brought on by stress include:
- Teeth grinding
Also known as clenching or Bruxism, this condition can cause severe damage to your teeth if left untreated. Regular teeth grinding can wear down your enamel and potentially cause headaches and jaw soreness. Teeth grinding often occurs at night, which means you might not be aware you’re grinding your teeth. If you notice jaw soreness or a change in the surface of your teeth, mention it at your next appointment.
- Gum disease
Stress has a major effect on your body, including your immune system. If not properly managed, stress can lower your immune system, putting you at a higher risk for infection, including mouth infections like gum disease.
- Dry mouth
Dry mouth can be caused by stress, as well as the medication used to treat stress and depression. If you’re unable to produce enough saliva, you’re at a higher risk for tooth decay, infection, and gum disease.
- Canker sores
Canker sores are more irritating than they are harmful. In fact, they’re harmless but canker sores brought on by stress can cause pain and discomfort. Canker sores usually go away on their own within a couple weeks but if you’re especially concerned, we may prescribe a topical treatment or rinse.
- Tooth decay
Too much stress can lead to a neglected oral health regimen. Unhealthy choices and a lack of proper care for your teeth can increase your risk of tooth decay.
To avoid any of the above conditions, it’s important to control stress through proper management techniques. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to relieve and prevent stress!
Tips To Manage Stress
Chances are, you’ve heard this before but exercise really does work wonders for your body. There’s no need to push yourself until you can hardly breathe as long as you focus on getting moving.
To truly relax your body and mind and even boost your mood, try to create an exercise routine. Start with 30 minutes of activity 3-5 times a week and work your way up from there. Whether you’re swimming, playing tennis, or going for a brisk walk, any activity is better than no activity!
- Muscle relaxation
Stress can create tension in your muscles, leading to soreness and an overall feeling of discomfort. To relieve tension, try stretching, self-massage, a hot bath or shower, or a good night’s sleep.
You can also try progressive muscle relaxation, which is a technique where you focus on one part of your body at a time to gradually relieve tension in your entire body.
- Deep breathing
You might be surprised to learn just how much of a difference deep breathing can make for your stress levels. Stop and take a few deep breaths when you can to relieve some pressure. If you have time, find a comfortable position to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing, comfortable place. Take slow, deep breaths in and out for 5-10 minutes and repeat as needed.
Manage Stress To Maintain Your Oral Health
To keep your teeth, gums, and bone healthy, it’s important to properly manage stress. Given the profound effect stress has on oral health, just a few simple stress management techniques can go a long way to keep you happy and your smile bright!
To learn more about stress and oral health or to find out if your stress levels have impacted your mouth, call Galleria of Smiles to schedule a checkup.