With office parties, family gatherings, and end-of-year celebrations, the holiday season packs a lot of fun into a few short weeks. But with the fun comes the stress, which can often peak in November and December.
Stress can affect the body in numerous ways, and it’s no surprise that it can also impact your oral health. Becoming aware of how stress affects your smile can help you manage, or even avoid, dental problems. Here are a few things to watch out for this holiday season:
Nighttime clenching and grinding: Up to 65 million Americans suffer from this condition, known as bruxism, which can exert up to 250 pounds of pressure on the teeth and lead to pain and tooth damage. Stress increases the risk of bruxism, so even if you’re not normally a sufferer, the habit might surface during the holidays. A dental nightguard protects your teeth from damage, and can alleviate the everyday jaw pain that often plagues grinders and clenchers.
Holiday decay: Visions of sugarplums dancing in your head? They can be nightmares for your teeth. Candy, cookies, and flavored coffee drinks may warm the heart, but holiday snacks can increase your risk of decay. If you find yourself indulging on a regular basis, plan on brushing and flossing more often than you normally do. If you can’t brush, chew some sugarless gum or rinse your mouth with water after you eat.
Loud snoring and sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic condition where the airway partially or completely collapses during sleep, which can lead to sleep deprivation and a host of associated maladies. Holiday-related weight gain can aggravate the condition. Though CPAP therapy is standard treatment, sufferers can also get relief from an FDA-approved oral appliance. Learn more about dental treatment for snoring and sleep apnea here.
Overlooking regular maintenance: Even if you’re fanatical about self-care, you still need to get a professional exam and cleaning at least every six months, and even more often if you are at risk for periodontal disease or have other issues. But, it’s easy to forget during the busy holiday season. If you’re overdue for a visit, call 425-885-0008 to schedule your appointment.
Taking care of your body can help you manage stress and ensure you stay happy and healthy so you can get the most out of the holidays.