Experts Say You Can Protect Your Teeth by Reducing Your Stress

woman with painful jaw(Issued Summer 2018)  — Stress can damage your teeth. Really.

A poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association found that, for a range of reasons, 40% of Americans admit to a higher anxiety level today than they had a year ago.

And while stress and anxiety can impact many aspects of your life, Dr. Andrew Chase of ARCH Orthodontics focuses on how it can affect your teeth: “You might be one of the 30 million Americans who grind their teeth – called bruxism — or you might be a chronic jaw-clencher. Left untreated, bruxism can result in fracturing, chipping or loss of teeth. Clenching can result in headaches, jaw pain (TMJ disorder), sore teeth, even hearing issues.”

Dr. Chase suggests that anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their dentist or Orthodontist whose additional years of training enables them to identify poor teeth alignment and excessive wear. To alleviate bruxism, an Orthodontist may prescribe a custom night guard/ oral appliance to keep the jaws slightly apart. For individuals suffering from sleep apnea (at least 20 million Americans!) —  a disorder in which a person stops breathing periodically throughout the night due to airway obstructions, Dr. Chase and his team perform assessments to determine treatment options. Chronic interrupted sleep can result in fatigue, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, other serious ailments, and highway or workplace accidents, Most people with sleep apnea aren’t aware of it.  One common symptom: loud snoring that keeps others awake!

Besides bruxism, among other stress-related dental problems are gum disease in which the body is unable to fight off bacteria, leading to gingivitis and periodontitis; dry mouth in which mouth breathing creates ideal conditions for cavities; and mouth ulcers / canker sores. Along with his standard advice related to good oral hygiene habits, Dr. Chase says reducing stress in your life greatly reduces your risk of tooth issues and gum disease. Easier said than done, right? But here are a few of his favorite ways to reduce everyday stress:

  • Get enough sleep. If you can’t, get tested for sleep apnea.
  • Smile more.
  • De-clutter your workspace and your brain.
  • Eat right.
  • Meditate / Exercise.
  • Find time every day to take a ‘recess’ break.
  • Socialize
  • Plan ahead.

To make a stress-free, no-obligation appointment at one of ARCH’s 9 offices, call (781) 209-6776. ARCH offers free initial consultation (a $500 value), and interest-free financing. Veterans and members of the military and their families receive a courtesy discount. For more info, contact ARCH: smilemaker@archorthodontics.com   / 781-209-6776. –  By Stanley Hurwitz /   508-269-0570  /   stanhurwitz@gmail.com

Sources: NetDoctor — https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/a28940/stress-oral-health/ and Dentistry.Net — http://www.dentistry.net/dental-nutrition/stress-and-its-effects-on-teeth/

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