At this time of year with college exams ongoing and leaving and junior cert exams just around the corner, you or your children will be all too familiar with stress, and how it can affect your energy levels, your sleep patterns and your mood.
Oftentimes though, you may not be aware of how this stress can also have an impact on your mouth.
As oral health professionals, our team are seeing more and more cases of patients with stress-related oral health problems;
Bruxism is the habit of grinding or clenching the teeth. People often do this while they sleep or while they are concentrating on something. You might notice yourself waking up with a sore jaw or you might be suffering from frequent headaches. Over time, this lead to extensive tooth wear, jaw pain, cracked and sensitive teeth.
Treatment for teeth grinding and clenching involves jaw exercises, and creating a custom night guard (splint), which acts to protect your teeth, correctly reposition your jaw, and relax your jaw muscles.
Ulcers and cold sores
Stress can also affect the gums and soft tissues of the mouth. It is a very common cause of cold sores and mouth ulcers.
Some people find that they are more prone to colds ores or ulcers during exam time or when they are under extra pressure at work.
It is very important to listen to your body and try to relieve stress even when there are demands on your time.
Our 5 top tips for stress relief
- Stay active; whether it’s a quick gym session or a walk in the park, make exercise a part of your daily routine.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep.
- Take time away from phones/laptops/computer screens in the evening. Backlit screens can disturb your body’s daily biological clock. Melatonin is released naturally at the onset of darkness, preparing your body for rest, and then continuously throughout the night as part of your natural circadian rhythm (daily biological clock). However, melatonin can be partially curbed by exposure to light, and the abnormally bright glow of backlit computer screens seems to be especially disruptive to its release.
- Limit your caffeine intake, and to avoid having tea or coffee after 6pm.
- Meditation can be very effective in reducing stress levels. There are a multitude of mobile phone apps that you can now download to guide you in meditation.
If you are concerned about your oral health and how your stress levels may be effecting it, arrange a consultation with a member of our team.
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