Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Resolve To Reduce Stress

Each year many people resolve to do various things:  Lose weight, spend more time with family and exercise, just to name a few.  Maybe we should add reduce stress to that list.  Much has been said of how stress impacts health.  Stress causes sleepless nights.  It can weaken your immune system as well as cause headaches and stomach aches.  Now it has also been linked to dental problems.  The National Institutes of Health says stress can cause canker sore outbreaks and teeth grinding.
Grinding teeth has many symptoms:  head pain, headaches, eye problems, discomfort in jaw movement, loose or sore teeth, throat problems, neck problems, ear problems and jaw problems.  Any or all of these problems should be checked by your Dentist. 

Stress is useful, even necessary in some instances.  It can help if you need to work hard or protect yourself by reacting quickly.  For instance, stress can help you win a race or flee a dangerous situation.  The bad effects of stress can happen when stress occurs too frequently or lasts too long.

According to the American Psychological Association, extreme stress levels can contribute to depression and depression has been shown to have a direct relationship with poor dental health.

Studies reported in the Journal of Periodontology have shown depressed people are twice as likely to have poor outcomes from periodontal treatment when compared to non-depressed patients.  Depressed patients are also more likely to smoke and not do simple oral hygiene routines such as flossing and brushing their teeth which increases their chances of gum disease and caries.

Utilizing stress management techniques will not only improve your overall health but that of your mouth as well.  Small lifestyle changes can have great effects.  Eating a healthy diet is a good place to start.  Learn how to manage your time better.  Take care of yourself by getting enough rest and learn to ask for help.  Having a strong network of family and friends will help you manage stress better. 

Perhaps most importantly, change your state of mind.  When you find yourself starting to worry, try to stop the thoughts.  Find a positive mantra such as “This too shall pass” and work on letting go of things you cannot change. 

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