In today’s crazy, fast-paced lifestyle, how do we keep from stressing? Every day, unexpected situations arise and it can take a toll on our body and mouth. We are now in the Holiday Season, which can add another level of stress to the stress we are already carting around. Sounds a bit heavy… you can feel your stress level rising just thinking about it. OK, take a big deep breath! Let’s take a good look at this and what we can do to help our overall health through the stress of the Holidays.

Did you know that stress can have an effect on our oral health? Researchers have found several links between stress and our mouth. One of the major problems that manifest in our oral cavity due to stress is mouth sores. Some examples are cold sores and canker sores. One of the main causes of mouth sores is emotional stress. Let’s face it, the holiday season can be an emotional roller coaster ride. Teeth grinding and clenching is another problem linked to stress.

Most of the time we accomplish this behavior without even knowing it. Constant worrying can affect our body while it’s sleeping. If we wake with a headache or sore jaw muscles, we may be grinding or clenching our teeth at night. This can have an effect on our teeth. When we are feeling stressed, we may find ourselves not giving the proper time to brushing and flossing.

So how do we deal with stress during the Holidays? First, it’s important to remember that everyone has stress. Our goal is to try to minimize stress as much as we can but we will never be able to remove it completely. With that in mind, here are some tips to help minimize our stress. Find stress management techniques that help you relax. This will be different for everyone. There are many techniques out there. Maybe your stress release comes in the form of a yoga class or you may prefer a walk in the park. Regardless of what it is, find a technique that’s right for you and commit to doing it this season. Also, make a promise to your mouth. Take the time to do your home care properly.

Did you know that if we don’t brush and floss we can have up to 1 billion bacteria on each tooth? By brushing and flossing we can bring that number down to 10,000 to 100,000 bacteria. This is especially critical during the cold and flu season. Last but not least, if you are a grinder you owe it to yourself to go see your dentist. They will see if you are a good candidate for a mouth guard. A guard will protect you from grinding your teeth and will help your facial muscles relax. It will also help those nagging headaches. Sit back, don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the Holiday Season!