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Harrowing Holidays: How Stress Impacts Your Teeth

December 5, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drkern @ 8:27 pm
Woman sitting at a holiday table full of gift wrapping supplies grasping her head in frustration

The holiday season is here and you’re probably busy mingling at various parties and finding just the right gift for that special someone. This time of year can bring plenty of joy, but for many, it comes with equal amounts of stress. Unfortunately, when you’re under added pressure your teeth suffer, too. Even if you practice proper preventative dental care, you’re still at risk of developing certain conditions. Keep reading to learn 3 ways end-of-the-year anxiety impacts your smile, and how your dentist can help.

Issue #1: Bruxism

Many people respond to unusually high levels of stress by clenching their teeth together, whether or not they’re aware of it. You might not know at first that you’ve been biting down so frequently because it often happens while you’re sleeping.

It’s problematic because all the added force can wear down your teeth unevenly which increases your risk of cavities. Not only that, but it could push them out of place or result in a bite misalignment. Scheduling a checkup with your dentist allows them to address any areas of concern, like tooth decay, before it has a chance to progress. They have the experience and instruments necessary to clean and fill in any cavities so your teeth are protected. If you’re worried about a crooked smile, they may even have cosmetic options to correct it.

Issue #2: Jaw Pain

If you wake up in the morning with an aching or clicking jaw or have persistent headaches throughout the day, teeth grinding could be the culprit. All the additional pressure on your jaw can impact the join that attaches it to your skull, known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If you wake up in the morning with a stiff jaw or hear a clicking sound when you open it, you might have developed a TMJ disorder and should call your dentist. They can assess your condition and work with you on appropriate solutions, like a mouthguard to wear at night.

Issue #3: Canker Sores

It’s not uncommon to develop a canker sore as a reaction to increased worry in your life. These are small, non-contagious mouth ulcers that can be triggered by additional stress, biting your cheek, or brushing your teeth with too much force. They often clear up on their own but if you’re in discomfort, you can ask your dentist what they might recommend.

Don’t let your worry about pulling off a perfectly happy holiday damage your teeth. Cut yourself a break and your smile is sure to thank you!

About the Author

Dr. Joe Kern has 22+ years of experience enhancing patients’ lives by improving their oral health. He and his dedicated dental team provide a full range of services to people of all ages, including TMJ therapy. No matter the condition of your smile, they’re sure to have solutions to help. You’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (701) 352-2013.

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