Can Stress Affect your Smile?

December 29, 2020
Dr. Katherine Nicholson

Can Stress Affect your Smile?

Stress can come in many forms, including versions that affect your smile. But did you know that your smile can reflect your overall health and well-being too? Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you, so it’s important that it reflects the best version of you. We’ll highlight a few common ways that stress can impact your oral health, as well as a few simple steps to help you become more mindful of stress, so you can bring back a whiter smile that better reflects a brighter you!

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Stress and Daily Brushing

During times of stress, some people neglect regular brushing and flossing. Issues like fatigue, sadness, or emotional ups and downs can make even simple daily tasks seem unnecessary or hard. When basic steps like twice-daily tooth brushing and flossing are overlooked, your teeth start to show it. Not only are food particles left to hang around, you could start to develop halitosis, or bad breath.

Under the surface, not brushing and flossing can also become a breeding ground for bacteria that can form into cavities, or tartar that can lead to the gum disease gingivitis.

Long term, not brushing and flossing could also affect the integrity of your teeth and gums, threatening tooth loss and the need for cosmetic dental restoration.

Have you ever noticed though, that when you’re feeling down, taking the step to do even just the “basics” can help you feel like a new person? Simple steps like brushing your teeth or taking a shower can help you step out of that momentary glum, helping to shift your perspective and get your "engine revving” again!

Stress and Nutrition

When it comes to oral health, it’s true that “we are what we eat.” Sometimes when we feel stressed, we may not pay careful enough attention to what we put in our bodies. We may eat less healthy options like processed foods or sugary drinks. These unhealthy food choices can actually eat away at tooth enamel, causing unsightly cavities and other problems to set in.

Additionally, stains left on the teeth from highly acidic drinks like coffee, juice or wine can affect the brightness of your smile.

Teeth Grinding, Stress and your Immune System

Feelings of stress can bring on a condition called “bruxism,” which is the conscious or unconscious clenching of teeth when you are awake, or the grinding of teeth when you are asleep.

Mild bruxism may not cause any problems, but in some people, more severe conditions can arise that cause the wearing down of tooth enamel, headaches, or increased tooth pain and sensitivity. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to reach out to our office for an evaluation.

Additionally, when you’re stressed, your body’s ability to fight off harmful antigens is reduced, which can lower your immune system. This can make your teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay, gum disease, and other periodontal diseases.

Healthier Teeth Start with Less Stress

Lessening your overall stress starts with becoming more aware of it. Be mindful of when you feel your emotional “temperature” rise, and look for ways that bring calm and a sense of balance in your life. Maybe go for a walk, do some yoga, or listen to a 10-minute meditation. Additionally, be mindful of the foods that you eat and the daily habits that you keep.

These small, simple steps can dramatically decrease your feelings of stress. When you take these steps, and they are like building blocks to a healthier you, ultimately helping you take better care of your oral health.

Regular Dental Visits

One of the best ways that you can ensure a brighter, healthier smile is to visit Carolina General and Cosmetic Dentistry for bi-annual check-ups. Visiting our office every 6 months allows you to stay on top of any oral health issues that stress has caused, as well as have professional cleanings that give your teeth and gums a healthy “reset.”

Consider a “Smile Makeover”

At Carolina General and Cosmetic Dentistry, we are one of the top cosmetic dentistry offices in South Carolina. If stress has caused cosmetic issues to surface, Dr. Nicholson provides “smile makeovers” that can enhance the overall cosmetic appearance of your smile. We specialize in porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, tooth-colored fillings, dental bonding and many other options for cosmetic dental care. Dr. Nicholson is highly skilled at identifying the best solution for each patient, helping to create a brighter, whiter more natural smile for each and every patient.

Schedule an appointment online

At Carolina General and Cosmetic Dentistry, we hope that you can find ways to feel less stressed in your daily life. We believe that a healthier you creates a brighter smile. If you are looking for cosmetic aesthetic dentistry in Spartanburg, we invite you to meet with Dr. Nicholson will discuss any options for your dental needs. Call us today, and one of our friendly team members will be glad to schedule a regular checkup, or a smile makeover assessment.

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