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Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress can arise from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.

Too much stress is known to play a role in our overall health but did you know that stress can also cause issues to your smile?

Stress Induced Dental Health Issues

Poor Dental Hygiene

When a person is under a lot of stress they tend to lose focus on basic habits and this can include maintaining optimal dental hygiene. If you do not take care of your dental hygiene on a daily basis, your dental health along with your overall health will begin to suffer and consequences can develop. This is especially important if you already have an issue with periodontal disease. Neglecting any part of your dental hygiene regimen can cause your periodontal disease to worsen. Another issue that can occur from stress is changes to your nutrition. Most people under heavy stress tend to develop very unhealthy eating habits. This can include frequent snacking on greater quantities than normal of sugary foods and drinks. These dietary changes will increase the risk of tooth decay.

An excellent way to defend against stress in your life is to regularly exercise. Maintaining a regular exercise schedule can help you relieve some of that built up stress and give you an extra energy boost to fight back. Exercise will also boost your immune system which will keep you stronger and healthier over the long haul.

Teeth Grinding (also referred to as Bruxism)

A main factor for people who grind their teeth is due to stress. Bruxism or teeth grinding can occur any time of day or night but it is usually an act we are unaware we are doing. Stress is not the sole cause of bruxism but it can make it worse. Dental issues associated with bruxism can include:

-Headaches

-Pain In Ears

-Wearing down of teeth.

-Temporo mandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

-Sensitive Teeth

-Chipped or cracked teeth

-Receding gums or teeth with notches along the gum line

Your dentist following a thorough examination may recommend a night guard to wear while you sleep to minimize the damage to your teeth. Generally, if stress is the root cause the bruxism will stop when the stressor(s) are removed.

Sores In The Oral Cavity

Mouth sores come in multiple forms. These forms can include:

-Canker sores. These are tiny ulcers with a white or grayish base and a red border.  There has been extensive debate among scientists regarding what is the root cause of canker sores. Some believe it is an immune system deficiency, bacteria, or even an underlying virus. The consensus belief is that stress can increase the risk of them appearing. Canker sores are not believed to be contagious.

Canker Sores Marielaina Perrone DDS

Canker sores generally last about a week to ten days. Spicy foods along with highly acidic foods should be avoided as they may irritate the sores. Your dentist can recommend a prescribed medicine called Debacterol. This prescription medicine is applied directly to the mouth sore and can reduce symptoms as well as thetime that the sores are present in the mouth.

-Cold sores (also called fever blisters). This type of sore is caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious. These sores are blisters that are filled with fluid that often appear on or around the lips. They are also seen under the nose or around the chin area. Emotional stress can trigger these sores to develop. Other triggers for these sores include fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.

Cold sores generally heal on their own in about 7 days time. Many treatments are available for relief, including over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Talk to your doctor or dentist if these medications could help you. It is imperative to start treatment as soon as you feel or visually notice the cold sore forming. The sooner you begin treatment the effects of the cold sore can be decreased.

Periodontal Disease (also Known as Gum Disease)

Stress can often lead to depression. Scientific studies have shown that patients who are dealing with depression have 2 times the risk of poor treatment outcomes from periodontal disease treatment compared to those who are not depressed. Most doctors agree that learning healthy strategies to cope with bouts of depression can help reduce the risk of periodontal issues getting worse.  Also, people who are in a depressed state tend to have poor overall hygiene including dental hygiene.

Stress Conclusion

Remember, we all have events that trigger stress during our daily lives. Development of techniques to deal with stress can make a marked difference in the maintanence of our dental health as well as our overall general health. As always, see your dentist for regular dental examinations along with professional cleanings to ensure you can keep your smile looking and feeling as healthy as can be!

Reminder:

-Eat a balanced diet

-Regular Dental Visits

and good oral hygiene help reduce your risks of periodontal disease. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss daily.

Stress is the body’s internal and external reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional response. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.

Too much stress is known to be bad for us but did you know that stress can also cause issues to your dental health?

Dental Issues That Can Be Caused By Stress

Poor Dental Hygiene

When a person is under stress they tend to lose focus on basic habits and this includes being diligent with maintaining their dental hygiene. If you do not take care of your dental hygiene, your dental health as well as your general health will begin to suffer. This is especially true if you already suffer from periodontal disease as skipping any part of your dental hygiene program can worsen the periodontal disease. Another issue with being under stress is your nutrition changes. Most people dealing with stress tend to develop very unhealthy eating habits. This can include snacking on larger than normal amounts of sugary foods and drinks. These changes will increase your risk for tooth decay.

A good way to combat stress in your life is to maintain a routine of regularly exercising. Exercising regularly can help you relieve some of that stress and give you an extra energy boost. Exercise will also boost your immune system which is always a plus.

Teeth Grinding (also called Bruxism)

One of the main reasons why people grind their teeth is due to stress. Bruxism can occur day or night but it is usually a subconscious act. Stress is not the only cause of bruxism but it does make it worse. Some of the dental issues associated with bruxism include:

-Headaches

-Ear Pain

-Worn Down Teeth.

-Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

-Sensitive Teeth

-Chipped or cracked teeth

-Receding gums or teeth with notches in them at the gum line

Your dentist may recommend a night guard to wear while you sleep to minimize the damage caused to your teeth. Usually, if stress is the cause the bruxism will stop when the stressor is removed.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores come in many forms. These can include:

-Canker sores. These are small ulcers with a white or grayish base and bordered in red.  There has been vigorous debate regarding what causes canker sores. Some believe it is an immune system issue, bacteria, or even a virus. Consensus is that stress can increase the risk of them showing up. Canker sores are not known to be contagious.

Canker sores generally last about 7-10 days. Spicy foods as well as highly acidic foods should be avoided as they tend to irritate the sores. One of the best forms of relief comes from a dentist prescribed medicine called Debacterol. This medicine is applied directly to the sore and can reduce symptoms as well as the length that the sores are present.

-Cold sores (or fever blisters). These sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious. Cold sores are blisters that are filled with fluid that often appear on or around the lips. They can also appear under the nose or around the chin area. Emotional stress can trigger an outbreak. Other triggers include fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.

Cold sores often heal on their own in about a week’s time. Treatment is available, including over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Ask your doctor or dentist if either could help you. It is important to start treatment as soon as you feel or notice the cold sore forming. The sooner you start treatment the effects of the cold sore will be reduced.

Periodontal Disease

Stress can lead to depression. And studies have shown that patients who are depressed have twice the risk of a poor outcome from periodontal disease treatment compared to those who are not in a depressed state. You can not make depression or the stress disappear, of course. But most experts agrees that learning healthy coping strategies can help reduce the risk of periodontal issues getting worse.  Also, people who are depressed tend to have poor overall hygiene and that includes dental hygiene.

Conclusion

Keep in mind we all have stress during the course of our day. Developing proper techniques for dealing with that stress can make a world of difference in the maintanence of our dental health as well as our overall health. As always, see your dentist regularly for dental examinations along with professional cleanings to ensure you keep your smile as healthy as can be!

Remember, eating a balanced diet, seeing your dentist regularly, and good oral hygiene help reduce your risks of periodontal disease. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss daily.

A toothbrush is our tool to keep our teeth clean and our breath fresh but, did you know, they can harbor bacteria that grow and diversify over time? The main recommendation has always been to change to a new toothbrush every six months mainly because the toothbrush bristles eventually lose their ability to clean your teeth gently and effectively. New research says that your handy toothbrush may be a haven for bacteria and other microorganisms. Not only do they harbor the bacteria but they can also transfer them to your loved ones with each use.

Tips To Keep ToothBrush As Clean As Possible

-Leave Brush Out In Open – This allows your toothbrush to air dry. Bacteria generally thrive and flourish in cool, humid, and dark places. This describes most bathrooms. Studies have shown that toothbrushes kept in a humid, dark environment retained almost 50% of the Herpes Simplex Virus (type 1) for almost a week. Further studies have shown that placing a toothbrush too close to the toilet bowl can introduce new types of bacteria every time you flush. Water particles are launched up to a 6 foot radius surrounding the toilet possibly contaminating your toothbrush and other bathroom items in the process.

Helpful Tip: Do not keep toothbrushes stored away inside your dark medicine cabinet. Consider leaving your toothbrush in a place with dry, well lit area like a nightstand.

-Change Brush Earlier If Possible – Replacing your brush more frequently to ward off progressive bacteria growths. The American Dental Association now recommends changing out your toothbrush every 2-3 months. A good tip might be to buy 12 new toothbrushes at the start of the year and replace the old one at the start of every new month. This makes it easy to remember and keeps your toothbrushes from becoming biology experiments.

Helpful Tip: Select toothbrushes with translucent bristles. Research has shown that these brush heads contain 50% less bacteria than the colored ones. It might be also helpful to use an anti bacterial mouth rinse to protect your mouth and also to rinse your toothbrush in after brushing to keep the numbers of bacteria down to a minimum.

-Nuke Your ToothBrush? – Some studies have advocated microwaving your manual toothbrushes (do not try this with an electric toothbrush!). This technique may eliminate several forms of bacteria and viruses that can form on tooth brush heads. This is an out of the box tip and has not been endorsed by anyone. People have been microwaving pacifiers for years to sterilize them. Just be careful not to ruin the integrity of the toothbrush in the process.

Helpful Tip: Never microwave a toothbrush with metal parts!

-UV (Ultraviolet Light) Sanitizers- There are many highly effective sanitizers which utilize UV light to kill  up to 99 % of toothbrush germs. This is especially helpful when a family member is sick and there is a stronger need to protect from cross contamination onto other toothbrushes.

Conclusion

Toothbrush maintenance and cleanliness is an often overlooked part of our oral hygiene regimen. We must remember how much bacteria we carry in our mouths on a daily basis. We certainly do not want to introduce any new germs to the mix that might be growing on our toothbrushes. Change a few habits and add some simple steps to help you and your family stay happy and healthy for many years to come.

Most people tend to focus on teeth and not the big picture. They see flaws in their smile and want them corrected but many often overlook the lips which frame our smiles. Our lips take a lot of abuse every day. From the wind, the sun, and our own bad habits. Did you know that our lips have no natural protections from the elements like other parts of our body? Our lips have no sweat or oil glands and to make matters worse we often neglect their care. Most of us are not careful enough to protect our lips from exposure to the Herpes virus, which affects the lips with painful blistering sores. By age 50, almost 90% of Americans have been exposed to herpes simplex 1 or 2, the viruses that cause cold sores

Harmful habits

We are often our own worst enemy when it comes to our body. Some habits that are harmful to our lips include:

-Constantly licking or biting our lips – Licking our lips cools and moisturizes them for a short period. Once they dry out, they become even drier than before. On top of that the enzymes in your mouth are also too harsh for your lips. Biting is usually a nervous habit which can cause a large fibrous nodule to form in the lip, or expose us to more bacteria by leaving a chronic open wound on the mouth.

-Kissing, and sharing lip products.- Herpes of the lips is usually transferred via kissing an infected person or using their lip product on your lips. Never kiss anyone with sores on their lips, even if it is almost gone! Never borrow lipstick or chapstick from anyone! Children can have a terrible outbreak from being exposed to herpes the first time. Many people don’t realize they are still contagious when their sore is almost gone and will kiss you or your child without thinking twice, you need to keep your eyes open!

-Smoking- smoking chronically irritates lip tissue, and can even stain the lips with nicotine.

-Open Mouth Breathing – Breathing through our mouths dries our lips out even more as the air travels in and out of our mouths. Whereas nose breathing will stop that dry air from drying our lips.

-Picking- Peeling or picking the chapping skin on your lips can lead to more damage and bleeding. Moisturize your peeling, chapped lips well with vaseline. You will be surprised at how fast they heal when kept moist.

-Piercings- lip piercings tend to cause increased saliva, lip licking, and lip biting. This leads to chronically irritated lips.

 Tips To Care For Lips

Choose A Nutritious Diet – Our skin as well as our lips are very dependent on what we eat. Our skin reacts differently to greasy foods vs healthy nutritious ones. Your lips need a continuous intake of vitamins and minerals to stay soft and supple. Vitamins that are important for healthy lips and skin include Vitamin B and Vitamin E. Drinking plenty of water is also very important, because when we are dry we tend to lick our lips more.

-Use The Right Lip Moisturizer – Products containing petroleum jelly, beeswax, paraffin, and some sun protection are the most effective. These ingredients do the best job sealing our lips keeping moisture in. In extreme irritations, aloe vera is a great ingredient to look for as well. This is an effective product since it is also has the ability to heal sensitive sunburns. Many people overlook their lips when putting sunscreen on. The lips can burn just like any other part of our skin. Be on the lookout for ingredients like salicylic acid or menthol. They can end up drying your lips out even more.

Lip Enhancements

-Lipstick - Beauty experts say the trick is to select a cool toned lipstick with blue undertones that will counteract the yellowing of our teeth. This will make your teeth appear instantly whiter in contrast against the lipstick. Seemingly, instant teeth whitening. Lipstick tips include:

Choose a contrasting lip color.

Choose lipsticks with blue undertone shades, such as bright pinks and reds.

Experiment with bronzing.

Save the gold tones for your eyelids and avoid gold tones near your lips or teeth.

-Surgical – This type of enhancement includes the use of implants to make the lips fuller. Another is lip shortening, when the lip appears to be too long.

-Injections – The use of dermal fillers (like collagen, Restylen, or Juvederm) give the ability to change lip fullness on a temporary basis. Beware this technique is very dependent on the skill of the injector. These injections normally last from between 4 months and a year. Botox is also used to deaden the lip and help with a gummy smile.

Conclusion

Our lips are an important part of our smiles and should be treated and cared for properly too. A set of healthy, full lips will make our teeth stand out even more. Follow proper care and you will have something to smile about!.