Will Stress Impact My Smile?

Restrictions and regulations related to the global COVID-19 pandemic are lifting in many places. But the residual stress of this public health crisis still weighs on many individuals. Stress can have negative effects on the human body, including in the mouth.

If your teeth and gums do not feel their best, this can affect the look of your smile too. If you are aware of your stress habits, you can take measures to stop them and protect your dental health. Read on to find three behaviors that stem from high stress levels which could negatively impact the appearance and structure of your smile.

prevent dental damage with good oral habits

Stress Habits That Could Hurt Your Smile

Overconsuming Caffeinated Beverages

Stress can disrupt your sleep schedule. You may wake up feeling groggy after too little or a low quality of sleep. Then you might turn to a cup of coffee or tea for a caffeine boost to give you the energy to get through your busy schedule.

But caffeine can dehydrate you, which may leave you with dry mouth. A dry oral environment will heighten your risk of infections like gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease could cause irreversible dental damage and even tooth loss. Drink plenty of water along with caffeinated beverages.

Dark-colored tea and coffee can also leave stains on your teeth. Your dentist can administer teeth whitening treatments to brighten your smile. But you can preserve the look of your teeth by limiting the amount of coffee and tea that you consume.

Grinding and Clenching Teeth

Stress generates tension in the body which may manifest in a teeth grinding or clenching habit. The grating of the top teeth against the bottom teeth will create pressure that may lead to chronic jaw pain. It might also cause the teeth to crack or chip, disrupting the look of your smile.

If you grind your teeth in your sleep, your dentist might help you protect your smile from damage caused by this behavior with a night guard. This custom-made oral appliance will cushion the teeth from constant grinding, preventing tooth breakage and lessening the tension in the jaw.

Skipping Routine Dentist Appointments

If you feel stressed, you might feel tempted to skip a routine appointment like a dental check-up. This might seem like it will free up your schedule, allowing you to relax without the hassle of going to your dentist’s office. But if you miss out on preventative dental care, you put your smile at risk of major dental problems.

Your dentist cleans plaque from hard-to-reach spots in your mouth during these appointments. If it remains on your teeth, you could get a cavity or suffer other structural dental damage.

Your dentist also examines your smile during these visits, checking for early signs of dental problems. Then they can offer swift treatment to get rid of any concerns before they cause lasting harm to your smile. Make sure you continue attending routine dental visits for optimal oral health.