The Effects of Stress On Your Dental Health

Dr. William Harper COVID-19 crisisBecause of the COVID-19 crisis, many of our patients are experiencing unusually high levels of stress. At Harper Dental Care, we want to keep you informed on the effects that stress has on your dental health. Here are the top three ways you may see stress affecting you during this time, and our tips on how to combat them:

Poor Oral Hygiene

COVID-19 has thrown all of our schedules off these past few weeks. If your daily routine has been altered or changed by COVID-19, we want to encourage you to continue practicing your standard oral hygiene routines. Don’t skip brushing and flossing your teeth during this crisis. Now more than ever, it is important to keep your smile clean and healthy. Your dental health is intertwined with your overall health, and when you stop taking care of your smile, you put yourself at risk for health complications. Consider the number of bacteria that live in your mouth on a daily basis. Don’t let them fester on your tooth surfaces. Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day to keep your smile healthy during this crisis.

Poor Dietary Habits

When people experience high amounts of stress, they often turn to comfort foods and beverages. Unfortunately, a lot of these substances leave behind staining agents and sticky residues on your teeth surfaces, which can cause plaque buildup and tooth discoloration. Limit your intake of foods like hard-candies, potato chips, citrus fruits, and tomato-based sauces. Additionally, be cautious of drinking beverages like red wine, soda, coffee, or tea. All of these substances are known for being tough on your teeth. If you do indulge, make sure to follow up by thoroughly brushing and flossing to reduce the amount of residue left behind on your teeth.

Tension Headaches & Jaw Pain

Many of our patients hold their stress in their facial muscles and don’t even realize they are doing it. If you notice yourself experiencing tension headaches, earaches, or jaw pain during this time, these are all symptoms of a TMJ disorder. Take several breaks throughout your day to relax your facial muscles and wiggle your jaw around. This will help reduce the amount of facial tension. Additionally, you should practice stress management techniques like breathing exercises before going to bed to reduce your chances of grinding your teeth at night. When this crisis subsides, mention all of your symptoms at your next dental appointment so Dr. Harper can further evaluate you and offer you TMJ treatment.

By the recommendation of the Virginia Dental Association and most other state dental associations across the US, we will be closing for elective procedures for 2 weeks starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020. However, if you experience a dental emergency during this time, please contact us. We will do our best to assist you and keep you out of the emergency room during this crisis. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. Our entire team wishes everyone in our community continues health and safety. We look forward to seeing you again soon!