Stress and Your Smile

We often blog about dental phobia and dental stress, and how sedation dentistry can help you overcome your fears to receive the dental care you need. While stress about dental visits keeps many people from enjoying long-term, good dental health, stress in your daily life can directly impact your mouth.

According to WebMD, stress can cause canker and cold sores, bruxism (teeth grinding), unhealthy eating, and gum disease.

• Cold and canker sores: Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and they are contagious. Canker sores, often confused with cold sores, are not contagious. Both cold and canker sores normally heal in about 10 days – and both can be caused by stress.

• Bruxism: Clenching and grinding teeth is a condition known as bruxism. Stress often contributes to bruxism, and bruxism can lead to TMJ disorder. People with TMJ disorder suffer from pain that can range from mild to debilitating.

• Gum disease: Research suggests that cortisol, a hormone produced when we’re under stress, contributes to the development of gum disease. Furthermore, people who are under stress often neglect proper daily dental care.

To reduce stress in your life, eat a healthy diet, get adequate rest, and exercise regularly. Some people find meditation or yoga helpful for relieving stress, as well. Of course, cutting back on commitments and making time for yourself can also help. In moments of significant stress, breathe deeply, stretch your muscles, and focus on a soothing thought. Aromatherapy is another option. Keep small vials of lavender, chamomile, and bergamot handy so that you can whiff their anxiety-reducing aromas whenever you feel stressed.

If you suffer from stress before and during dental visits, talk with Dr. James DeFinnis about sedation dentistry. In addition to offering IV and oral sedation, Dr. DeFinnis has significant experience consulting with fearful patients. To reserve an appointment, call Back Mountain Dental in Trucksville today if you live in Scranton, Wilkes Barre, or a nearby community.

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