Is Stress Affecting Your Smile?

No one wants to be stressed, yet we all find ourselves feeling stress at some point during the year, whether from school, work, schedule overload or family needs. By now, you’ve probably read a lot about how stress takes a toll on your emotional wellness as well as your physical well-being. You may not have read much about how it affects your dental health, however. Sadly, that doesn’t make it less true! There are a few ways stress can affect your smile - and luckily, there are a few solutions for you right here in Saint Charles.

- Stress Eating: When we’re under stress, whether due to emotional chaos or a busy schedule, many people turn to poor eating habits. Unfortunately, this can contribute to poor dental health. Sticky candies can get stuck in between teeth, sugary drinks create a feast for bacteria, and a lack of vitamins affects the whole body! The Solution: Drink lots of water when you’re feeling stress come on and do your best to keep healthy snacks (like apples, carrots, and almonds) on hand so you don’t reach for the candy in a pinch.

- Teeth Grinding: Stress doesn’t back off, even in your sleep. The worries of the day can carry over into nighttime, leading you to grind your teeth in your sleep or clench your jaw. If this continues for a prolonged time, it can wear down your enamel or even contribute to jaw damage. The Solution: A night guard can help! Our staff can fit you for a night guard that absorbs the pressure and tension from teeth grinding and clenching.

- Periodontal Disease: If stress has become a way of life, which it easily can, it has the tendency to wear down your immune system, making you more susceptible to bacteria. In the case of the mouth, the bacteria that cause infections and gum disease are given the chance to take hold and grow without a strong immune system in place. The Solution: Be sure to visit our office every six months for a cleaning to look for signs of periodontal disease. In between visits, try to keep your stress in check with healthy practices like exercise, yoga, and meditation.

If you have any other questions about what stress means for your mouth, come see us at Jeffrey Smith, DDS!