The Effects of Stress On Your Dental Health

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is causing a spike in patient stress. At Today’s Dentistry, we recognize these are uncertain times during this unprecedented worldwide public health crisis. We want to provide you some information on how stress affects your dental health, and how you can best continue to care for your teeth, gums, and jaw during this crisis.

Poor Dental Hygiene Habits

Under high amounts of stress, it can be difficult for patients to know what to prioritize. Additionally, with all of our routines being thrown off, patients are more likely to forget to brush and floss their teeth. We want to encourage patients to continue practicing their best dental hygiene habits. Now that we are unable to provide preventative dental hygiene appointments for the time being, patients should take this opportunity to stay on top of their dental health. Brushing and flossing go a long way in reducing your chances of more costly dental concerns. Additionally, if your dental hygiene appointment was canceled due to the crisis, make sure your appointment gets rescheduled after COVID-19 subsides.

Poor Dietary Habits

Comfort foods and sugary beverages are common coping mechanisms during times of high stress. Unfortunately, these substances typically leave behind staining agents and sticky residues on your teeth surfaces. Now is the time to practice consuming these substances in moderation. Limit your intake of sodas, hard-candies, coffees, potato chips, red wines, citrus fruits, and teas during this time. If you do indulge, make sure to follow up by thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. We do not want to see our patients’ smiles suffer from tooth decay or discoloration due to poor dietary habits during this crisis.

Headaches & Jaw Pain

Common symptoms of high stress include headaches and jaw pain due to teeth grinding or jaw clenching. These are all signs of a TMJ disorder, and you should make sure to mention these symptoms at your next dental appointment. For now, to reduce your discomfort, you should practice mindfulness. Try leaving yourself reminders around your home or setting reminders on your phone to unclench your jaw. Take several breaks while you are working throughout the day to relax all of your facial muscles. Make sure that you are relaxed before you go to sleep by practicing breathing exercises or other stress management techniques.

As your trusted dentist in Knoxville, TN, we are here for you when you need us the most. Per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) as well as the Knox County Health Department, we will be closed until further notice for all procedures except Dental Emergencies. A dental emergency is generally defined as severe and increasing pain or swelling associated with a tooth or gum tissues. It can also include situations like a lost temporary crown, broken tooth, or a loose implant part.

Please contact us if you find yourself needing dental care during this crisis.