Your Lakewood CO dentists at Advanced Family Dental think of dental health holistically, considering carefully how other body systems may affect your smile. In fact, there are some problems that can affect just about every part of your body, including your smile: stress is one of them.
Chronic elevated cortisol– the body’s stress hormone– can lead to hypertension, obesity, lowered immune response, and even impact blood sugar. It can harm your sleep patterns and sometimes lead to unhealthy habits, like excessive alcohol or caffeine use (or both.) And, of course, stress impacts oral health.
Social anxiety and bruxism
One example of stress harming oral health comes from an new study by researchers at the University of Tel Aviv; they found that patients who reported high levels of social anxiety also had correspondingly high rates of bruxism– both waking and sleeping. Bruxism, or tooth-grinding, produces jaw pain and it wears the enamel down on your teeth, leading to cavities.
While certainly an unpleasant reality, this study does a wonderful job of illustrating just how closely linked our body’s systems are, and how your emotional health can have a direct impact on your mouth!
Lowering life stress levels
Changing the levels of cortisol in your body can make a huge difference in your health. In addition to preventing or stopping the negative impacts of bruxism, reducing stress lowers your blood pressure, slows aging, boosts your immune system, and just makes your day more enjoyable. Try one or more of these simple, low impact methods of reducing daily stress:
- Do yoga for five minutes while your coffee-maker does its job each morning.
- Once a week, walk or ride your bike to work, if you can. Or try taking public transportation and reading a book during the trip!
- Take one or two minutes to stretch periodically while you’re working– especially if you have a job that keeps you at a computer
- Eat healthy food. This helps your body’s immune system if stress is taking its toll.
- Keep a lavender plant– lavender oils have a natural calming effect
- Take 10 minutes to exercise daily– even if it’s just a walk around the block.
Your Lakewood CO dentists – Combating stress in dentistry
All health professionals advise their patients to lower stress levels, but dentists are in a special position– we face the effects of stress on patients, and we know that visits to the dentist can be stressful in and of themselves! Here’s how you can lower dental stress:
- Tell your Lakewood CO dentists if you have dental anxiety. We have many tools to help patients who feel anxious during exams or procedures, and our caring and friendly staff is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure your comfort.
- Plan your visits ahead of time. Sometimes a stressful schedule can lead to missed appointments– which can harm dental health, leading to more stressful appointments, and from there it’s a vicious cycle! Avoid the hassle by scheduling appointments far in advance and let us help you stay on track.
- Treat dental stress symptoms. If you are suffering from bruxism or jaw clenching, these habits can lead to oral harm. Customized mouthguards are a great way to combat bruxism before it can do any dental damage; talk to us today about how to create one!
- Make time for daily hygiene. Even with a full schedule, be sure to make time to brush twice daily for two minutes and floss at least once. Taking these small steps each day will prevent big problems down the road!
Call to schedule your next appointment today, and we’ll make sure that dental health is never one of the things that stresses you out!