All of us experience stress to some degree, and some deal with stress more often than others. Stress doesn’t only affect our mind, but it can cause physical symptoms as well. It is widely known that stress causes headaches, tension in muscles or upset stomachs, but did you know that stress also affects your oral health? While people of every age experience stress, young adults in high school and college have the highest levels of stress. As the school season starts to get in full swing this month, learn the effects that stress can have on oral health, and healthy ways to deal with that stress.
Possible Effects Of Stress
Stress can lead to the potential oral health problems:
-Emotional stress can cause mouth sores, such as canker sores or cold sores
-Stress can cause you to overthink and worry, causing you to clench or grind your teeth while you sleep. This can cause headaches, loss of tooth structure, gum recession, tooth sensitivity, and cracked or broken teeth.
-A common stress factor for students is completing large amounts of homework in one night, so they often stay up late to finish all their work. Not getting enough sleep is a huge problem for teens- one 2014 study found that 90 percent of American high school students are sleep deprived- and causes many negative effects on the brain & body development. As for oral health, students staying up late may fall asleep studying without taking the time to care for their teeth by brushing and flossing.
-Students who are on a busy schedule often don’t take the time to eat properly, resulting in stress due to poor diet and a lack of necessary vitamins and nutrients.
-Stress can affect immune systems, causing gum disease or worsening existing gum disease.
-Dry mouth is the feeling of having no saliva in your mouth, and can often happen before a stressful meeting or class presentation. Stress is one of the main reasons for this, and having no saliva can actually be bad for your oral health, as saliva washes away food particles from your gums and teeth.
How To Deal With Stress
With all of these negative effects that stress has on our overall mental, physical and oral health, dealing with stress in positive ways is important for every student to know. If you are a parent, teacher, friend, or student yourself, take these tips into account for the next time you or someone you know is dealing with a stressful situation.
-Take a break and talk to someone about your stress, as keeping it in only makes the stress worse and the symptoms more detrimental to your overall health.
-Find a technique that helps manage stress, whether it be reading for pleasure, yoga, taking a walk, or playing or listening to calming music.
-Stay active, as physical activity helps with stress
-Get as much sleep as you can
-Eat a healthy, balanced diet
-Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings to care for your oral health
Keep Your Smile Healthy with Affinity
While it’s important to maintain oral health on your own, visiting the dentist every six months for a deep cleaning has been proven to prolong the health of your teeth. Affinity Dental has six dentists and provides a variety of services from pediatric dentistry to orthodontics. Affinity Dental is capable of meeting all of your needs. With 170 combined years of treating a variety of dental needs, Affinity is committed to providing quality dental care. To get your teeth back into good health and make your smile bright, call us at 410-719- 7900 or contact us online. For other useful tips on dental care follow us on Facebook and Twitter.