It is a hot, sunny late July day as I sit to write this article.
The air conditioners at the office are working overtime, the personal protective gear that my team and I are wearing gets warmer by the minute, and the COVID-19 virus is still with us.
Life goes on!
I think the uncertainty of the virus and its repercussions is getting to everyone.
Vacations have been cancelled or altered and it’s hard to envision September when we don’t know if the kids are going back to school or if they will be home.
In general, I think we are all experiencing a higher level of stress than normal.
Science tells us that stress affects our body and our overall health.
This is true with oral health as well, in two specific ways that I would like to address.
First, stress exhibits itself at night by grinding and clenching teeth, commonly called bruxing, as we sleep.
The direct result of this is that patients break teeth and complain about an increase in headaches.
In my practice, I am seeing a significant increase in emergencies, where patients who have otherwise healthy teeth are coming in with issues as a result of bruxing.
The best way to resolve this situation is to reduce the underlining stress. Easier said than done in these times!
The next option is to wear a nightguard, an option which has resolved issues for many of my patients through the years.
I recommend that you ask your dentist for a professionally made night guard, which he will fit it and adjust until it is comfortable.
After you become accustomed to your custom made nightguard you will swear by it, as you potentially save big money in dental work.
A second way that stress affects oral health is the exacerbation of periodontal (gum) issues.
Stress impacts the release of various hormones, which, when out of balance, causes inflammation throughout the body.
Inflammation in the mouth causes gum disease.
It has been established that periodontal disease and cardiac disease are linked, so you see that gum issues should not be ignored.
Your dentist is ready to help you.
He and his team will be gowned, gloved and shielded as they help you safely deal with the effects of stress.
Be proactive in these crazy COVID-19 times.
Protect your overall health by protecting your oral health.
PHOTO CAP: Keeping everyone safe at Bucks County Dental Design