We often think of stress as bad, but a certain amount of stress is actually good. Our bodies and minds need stress to help them become, and remain, strong. The problem arises when we become overwhelmed by stress. Too much stress comes with a price, mentally and physically. Evidence of stress can present as frustration, irritability, lack of concentration, overeating, poor diet, and insufficient exercise. Some people become depressed, while others experience chronic headaches, bodily aches and pains, weight fluctuations, or insufficient sleep. Stress can negatively impact dental health, as well, as your Corona general dentist explains in this post.Stress and Diet

Your teeth require minerals to fight bacteria and decay. Tooth enamel is the second hardest substance that naturally occurs on earth. Minerals keep tooth enamel hard. When you consume starchy or sugary foods, your saliva combines with the foods to create an acid. This acid depletes teeth of essential minerals, leaving them vulnerable to bacterial infection and cavities. Nutrients, including calcium and phosphorus, are important for keeping teeth strong. Furthermore, eating crunchy fruits and veggies, along with drinking pure water, removes bacteria and acid from your mouth throughout the day. When people are stressed, they tend to eat unhealthy foods, packed with carbs, sugars, and starches. Healthy fruits and veggies take a backseat to packaged potato chips and acidic energy drinks. In this way, stress eating burdens your dental health and can increase your risk for cavities.

Stress and Bruxism

A common side effect of stress is bruxism, or clenching and grinding teeth. When we feel stressed, humans tend to tighten their muscles, particularly those in their hands and jaws. When the jaw muscles are tensed during the day, they become tired. While we sleep, these muscles spasm, which causes clenching and grinding of our teeth – the condition known as bruxism. Over time, bruxism will wear down molars, making them smooth and altering the way upper and lower teeth fit together. Called occlusion, the fitting together of upper and lower teeth is important for overall oral health. Malocclusion can lead to TMJ disorder, or TMD, which creates nagging to debilitating symptoms. In addition to wear on molars, bruxism can contribute to tiny stress fractures in tooth enamel or large cracks that go deep into a tooth. Ultimately, this tooth damage and wear may necessitate dental crowns, tooth extraction, root canal therapy, and tooth loss. In short, bruxism triggers a cycle of pain and deterioration.  If you grind your teeth, ask one of our Corona general dentists about a nightguard to prevent bruxism. Our restorative dentists can also rebuild your molars and restore your total oral health.

Stress and Apathy

We often relate being stressed to being busy. When working on a hectic schedule, the little things can slip. For instance, brushing your teeth may fall from twice a day to once a day if you’re super busy. Flossing may fall by the wayside completely. You might even postpone your regular checkup. While setting some things aside may be important to reducing stress, don’t become apathetic about your oral care routine. Brush twice a day, floss daily, and if you have a toothache, come see us as soon as possible. Left unchecked, dental problems can quickly become dental emergencies.

Don’t Stress, Smile!

The holidays bring family fun and festivities, though they also present schedule crunches and financial strain. Don’t allow the stress of the holidays to negatively impact your health or state of mind. Take time for yourself, to relax and regroup. Plan your meals so that your diet remains on track, even when your time management falters. Remember to drink plenty of water, rest eight hours a night, and take precautions to avoid colds and flus. In addition, don’t neglect daily brushing and flossing, and if you experience a toothache, don’t postpone a dental visit.

Call Riverside Dental Group of Corona today, and book your visit with one of our caring, experienced general and family dentists. We see patients of all ages, and our dental team includes a pediatric dentist, specializing in children’s dental care. We also have an oral surgeon and orthodontists on staff for your convenience and comfort.  Call 951-273-9580 today to reserve your dental visit in our 92879 dentists’ office.