(Original Post Date: December 1, 2010)
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of year again, probably the most anticipated and exciting time of the year, but with a string attached…. STRESS!
Three-quarters of American adults report moderate to high stress levels in their everyday lives, and that number increases during the holiday season, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association. And while we all know the many effects of stress on our mind and bodies, it is not unusual to overlook the effects on oral health.
Two common stress-coping mechanisms – night time teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism) and indulging on sweets – can be detrimental to oral health. Bruxism, estimated to affect up to 65 million adults in the U.S., can exert up to 250 pounds of pressure on teeth and can cause irreversible damage, including worn enamel, loss of tooth shape and flattened surface. Many individuals are unaware they grind or clench their teeth at night until they need to see a dentist due to tooth soreness or start randomly chipping teeth.
For those overindulgers, the high sugar content from many holiday treats creates an ideal environment in the mouth for bacteria to feed and increase their acid level production, which can lead to tooth decay, mineral loss, and, ultimately, cavities.
Here are a few simple tips to help maintain healthy teeth and gums during the busy and stressful holiday season:
1. Protect teeth against nighttime grinding and clenching with a night guard. options include a short term over-the-counter do-it-yourself-er or a customized one that lasts for years, available from our office.
2. The old tried-and-true: Brush and floss after eating all the sugary goodies!
3. Maintain a regular sleep, meal, oral hygiene and exercise schedule. Attending to basic health needs helps in coping with stressful situations during the holidays.
4. As busy as we can get, it’s tempting to put off your 6-month check up and cleaning during the holidays, but of course, we recommend that you stay on schedule and enjoy your holidays with one less thing to stress about and a clean bill of dental health!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL OF YOU AND BEST WISHES!
(Source article at plackers.com)