Stress & Your Oral Health

Our oral health is important, but many people only ever learn the proper techniques for brushing or flossing their teeth.  While most patients realize the importance of visiting the dentist regularly for checkups, what they don’t know is that stress has a damaging effect on the teeth.  While brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist are critical, there is more to caring for your mouth that just those three things.  Stress is a major factor in your health and oral care.

How Stress Affects your Oral Health

When you go to sleep at night, your body will continue to react to the stress you are feeling throughout the day.  One common response the body has during sleep is to grind the teeth.  Stress is a direct cause of this reaction that is hard to control.  When people grind their teeth, it can lead to TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint. This can lead to:
- Frequent and persistant headaches
- Clicking of the jaw
- Sleep apnea or issues with snoring
- Damage to the teeth that can result in fillings being lost, cracks, or worn down teeth

How to Manage Stress

No one wants to suffer unnecessary dental issues.  This makes it even more important to address your stress now and learn how to handle it effectively.  While you are learning new techniques to relieve pressure, your dentist can provide you with a nighttime mouth guard that will prevent further damage being done to your teeth as a result of grinding.  During the daytime hours, be aware of your mouth and stop grinding at the first signs.  Other ways to handle stress in your life can include:
- Spending time doing a hobby that helps you to relax.
- Talking with a therapist to help reduce emotional pain.
- Exercise regularly to increase stress reduction.
- Meditation and yoga are both practices that have been found to be helpful in dealing with stress. 
While stress tends to be a daily battle for most people, it affects more of your health than you realize. Routine appointments with your dentists in Hudson Valley are critical for catching problems at the onset that come from grinding your teeth.  Make every effort to protect your teeth before it becomes too late.

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