3 Ways Holiday Stress Can Affect Your Teeth


Holiday Food, and More Holiday Food

Holiday parties and family festivities mean increased amounts of alcohol and sugary food consumption. Years of research has shown that the foods you eat and how often you eat them can affect your teeth.  Foods that contain sugar of any kind can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. You are at risk for stressing your teeth out during the holidays when you consume more:

  • Sodas and alcohol
  • Sweetened fruit drinks
  • Non-nutritious snacks
  • Candies and cookies
  • Foods high in carbohydrates and starches

And you may not realize, increased stomach acid that cause heartburn and reflux put you at a greater risk for tooth erosion and periodontal problems. Dentists are often the first health care professionals who notice a potential acid reflux problem in a patient. Your dentist may notice tooth erosion or other oral signs.

So, give your teeth a gift during the holidays by giving them a little extra attention.  Grab the carrots and dip instead of another candy cane, brush more often, and floss extra.

Holiday Travel

Changes in air pressure while on a flight may cause some minor pain and discomfort for passengers with cavities and loose fillings or for those who have recently had dental work done, such as fillings, root canals, etc. This is different for everyone according to their teeth sensitivity, how close the dental work was to a nerve and pain tolerance.

To help lessen the pain, take a pain reliever (following the advice of your personal physician) before you fly. The anti-inflammatory properties of the drug will certainly help with any discomfort.

Holiday Stress

If you find that you are dealing with more stress than usual, there is a good chance that the health of your teeth and gums are affected. It is natural to experience some tension and anxiety at times. However, when you are exposed to situations that keep your cortisol levels elevated for a long period of time and the added stress of the holidays, the effects on the body can be staggering. Not only does your immune system become compromised, but so does your overall health.

The following symptoms could indicate you are stressed out and the effects of it have started to alter your oral health.

  • Teeth grinding
  • Canker sores
  • Dry cotton mouth feeling
  • Painful clicking or popping of the jaw

If you notice you are clenching or grinding your teeth, talk to a dental professional about a bite guard. With the New Year approaching, it is the perfect time to focus on relieving stress by getting enough sleep, breathing deeply and slowing down.  It is not only great for your teeth and oral care, but it is also best for your overall health.

Dr. Scott Sahf & Team wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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