Though regulations and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to lift, many people still feel stressed from this major global event. Stress has detrimental effects on your overall health, including your smile.
If your smile does not feel at its best, it will not look its best either. Dental patients under stress will likely see the look of their smile begin to decline. Read on to learn about three habits that stem from stress which can leave your smile with cosmetic damage.
3 Stress-Related Behaviors that Hurt the Look of Your Smile
Drinking Beverages That Stain Your Teeth
Stress can disrupt your sleep schedule. If you wake up feeling groggy, you might turn to a cup of coffee or tea for a caffeine boost to get you through your busy day.
But these dark-colored beverages get their hue from tannins. This substance can absorb into the enamel of your teeth over time, leaving stains on their surfaces. Brushing and flossing will not get rid of this deep discoloration.
You can add milk to your drink or sip through a straw to lower the risk of staining your teeth from these beverages. However, you will not get rid of the chances entirely.
Dentists will suggest limiting the number of dark-colored foods and drinks that you consume to preserve your tooth color. If you notice yellowing, dullness, or stains in your smile, ask your dentist about teeth whitening treatment.
Worsening Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Stress can lead muscles in the jaw to tighten, causing teeth grinding or clenching habits. Dentists refer to this behavior as bruxism. The grating of the top teeth against the bottom teeth generates pressure that can hurt your teeth and jaw.
Not only can this lead to facial soreness, but your teeth could crack, chip, or fracture under this pressure. The function of your jaw may decline if this behavior continues too. Your dentist can treat TMJ disorders and other concerns by addressing bruxism.
One way that dentists can help patients with unconscious bruxism is to give them a custom-made night guard to wear as they sleep. This mouthguard-like device fits to the patient’s unique smile, encouraging compliance with the treatment without disrupting sleep. The night guard cushions teeth from the pressure of grinding and clenching that may occur without the patient’s notice.
Skipping Regular Dentist Appointments
Stress can make people feel overwhelmed. They may think it is easier to cancel their routine dentist appointments than to make their way to the office and deal with scheduling. Avoiding the dentist can increase your likelihood of getting deep stains in your teeth as well as major dental problems.
During these routine visits, dentists clean plaque and tartar from your smile in hard-to-reach spots. If left on your teeth, these can eat away at the enamel, causing decay and discoloration.
They will also check your smile for early signs of dental damage and provide prompt treatment if needed. You should see your dentist at least twice each year for teeth cleanings and oral exams.