National Relaxation Day
Aug. 15 is National Relaxation Day, and it’s just in time! Even though summer is the holiday season, that doesn’t mean that adults get any time off. So, as the summer draws to a close, you might be feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation, so to say.
Life can be hectic, and often, you may be carrying stress in ways you don’t even realize. Stress can affect you physically, even if you’re not aware of it. In particular, it can affect your teeth, which, in turn, can affect your overall oral health.
How Does Stress Affect Your Teeth?
Stress affects your teeth in several ways. One of the most common ways is by increasing your risk of bruxism. This is the technical term for grinding or clenching your teeth. Although it is associated with sleep, bruxism can happen at any time, and you may not even realize that you are doing it. What is more, it is most commonly associated with emotional stress.
Bruxism isn’t only uncomfortable or even painful but can also have some serious effects on your teeth. Frequent grinding or clenching your teeth — which is often uncontrollable or subconscious — can wear away at your enamel, increasing your risk of breakage and decay. It can also cause jaw pain, poor sleep, loose teeth, and headaches.
We may recommend that you start wearing a nightguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep. If you suffer from daytime bruxism, you can also find custom-fitted mouth guards that are clear and discreet.
But bruxism isn’t the only way that stress can damage your teeth. A common side effect of stress is a decrease in saliva, leading to a dry mouth. This can be a serious problem for your oral health. Saliva is the first line of defence against harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
When your mouth dries out, it creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. What is more, under chronic stress, people often neglect their oral care routine. This leads to poor dental health and can cause pain, decay, cavities, and even increase your risk of certain cancers.
What Are the Best Ways to Protect Your Teeth From Stress?
Ideally, people need to cut out their stress to help improve their oral health. But realistically, that is not always doable. The best way to protect your teeth from the effects of stress is to be diligent about your oral care and speak to us about your concerns. We may recommend you start using a mouth guard to help improve your oral health.
In the meantime, look for ways to manage your stress. This is important not just for your dental health, but also for your mental and physical health. This might mean practising relaxation exercises, seeing a counsellor, taking prescribed medication, or even just pursuing a relaxing hobby.
And of course, you should take the occasional day to relax — like National Relaxation Day.