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Meeting the needs of our family, work and social lives can be stressful. Our bodies react to stress in many ways, but we may not be aware of how stress affects our dental health. I would like to share some ways that our bodies may respond to stress from an oral health point of view, and also ways to calm our bodies and minds.

The habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, usually while you’re sleeping, is called bruxism. It may be caused by stress. Symptoms include headaches, a sore jaw, frequent toothaches, and damage to teeth or dental work.

Periodontal (gum) disease might be linked to high stress. Signs of gum disease include gums that bleed when you brush or floss; red, swollen or tender gums; and gums that have pulled away from your teeth.

Canker sores may also be stress-related. These small sores appear on the soft tissues inside your mouth or on the base of your gums. Most canker sores go away in a week or two. Call the office if you have a sore that does not heal.

If you find yourself feeling stressed, try these simple tips:

• Always make time for brushing and flossing. These three to five minutes are time to do something positive to improve and maintain your health.
• Keep regular dental appointments dentist regularly so that we can take care of any teeth damaged from clenching or grinding, or prescribe a night guard or bite plate to prevent further damage.
• Practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga, to control tension. Visualize a beautiful, relaxing spot like the beach.
• Exercise. Nothing reduces stress like a run or a bike ride.

We want you to be relaxed and healthy. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to make an appointment.