Stress in any form can take its toll on your health and the last few months have been an extreme test of our perseverance through these troubled times; therefore, we would like to talk about some helpful tips to manage stress.
Simple Ways to Relieve Stress
Get Some Exercise.
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. Even if you can’t get to a gym, you can take a walk around your neighborhood or go for a hike whenever you can. AllTrails is a great app where you can find trails near you. Plus it’s free! Looking around your environment can do wonders to lift your spirit. And it’s easy to do while keeping social distancing.
Do you reach for sweets or junk food when you are stressed? You are not alone. Research at Harvard has linked stress with overeating. If you feel the urge to indulge, try to avoid sugary snacks and unhealthy fats. Fruits and vegetables are always good a good choice. Also, foods high in omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce symptoms of stress; some examples are avocados, fish, and nuts.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Stress can cause you to lose sleep. Unfortunately, on the flip side, lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This can get you into a vicious cycle. If you are getting less than 7 hours you are likely experiencing some physical stress. Here are some tips to get a good night’s sleep:
Here are Medical News Today‘s tips to help you to improve your sleep and put the bounce back in your step:
- Stick to a sleep schedule.
- Increase your exposure to sunlight.
- Limit your screen time and use night mode settings on your devices.
How Your Dentist Can Help With Your Stress
Believe it or not, a dentist can see evidence of stress in a person. During routine dental examinations and cleanings, dentists are able to detect oral symptoms of stress, such as bruxism (pain in the jaw teeth, mouth, or face from teeth grinding), mouth sores, and gum disease.
Many people are not aware that they are experiencing stress until they get sick or have other physical difficulties, such as dental problems. Regular six-month dental checkups can be the first line of defense for detecting such stress-related physical problems.
Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth. This can occur unconsciously while you are awake or when you sleep. For example, some people grind their teeth during stressful moments such as driving in heavy traffic on the freeway or when they are under work stress.
Some signs of bruxism include:
- Tips of the teeth appear flat
- Tooth enamel is rubbed off, causing extreme sensitivity
- Tongue indentations
Your dentist can examine your teeth to determine whether you may have bruxism and if so, can suggest the best method of treatment, such as night guards. They work by putting a barrier between your teeth. When you clench your jaw, the night guard helps to lighten the tension and give cushion to the muscles in the jaw. This cushioning not only helps to prevent face and jaw pain but also protects the enamel of your teeth.
One of the most common mouth sores is canker sores. How stress can cause canker sores isn’t well understood. One hypothesis, stated in a paper published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, is that people are more likely to bite their cheeks or lips when anxious or stressed, causing trauma to the mouth that can make canker sores likely to develop. The same paper notes other studies that suggest that stress is a trigger for canker sores, rather than a direct cause of them.
Canker sore symptoms
The symptoms of canker sores include:
- A small, shallow and symmetrical ulcer that is white, gray or yellow in color and surrounded by redness
- A painful sore inside your mouth which can appear on or under the tongue, at the base of the gums, inside the cheek or lip or on the soft palate
- A burning or tingling before the ulcer appears
If your canker sore is persistent, unusually large, or particularly painful, or if the sores are spreading, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist who can thoroughly examine the problem and recommend treatment.
The body produces immune cells to protect against bacteria, but when the body is under stress, this delicate balance is thrown off. The inflammation tends to increase due to stress, allowing bacteria to thrive and cause gingivitis i.e. gum disease.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bad breath that won’t go away.
- Red or swollen gums.
- Tender or bleeding gums.
- Painful chewing.
- Loose teeth.
- Sensitive teeth.
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth.
Whether stress-related or not, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms it is important you schedule a visit with your dentist to start treatment.
We Are Here for You
We understand that stress can get to the best of us. So in these times of stress, we are here to care for you and help ease your stress in any way we can. We will do everything possible to make your visit stress-free and address any dental issues that may be causing you stress. At Christensen Dental here in Henderson Nevada we treat our patients as we would treat our families.
Sincerely, Dr. Tyler Christensen & Dr. Ashley Anderson