Restrictions and regulations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to lift in many places. But a majority of people feel lingering and elevated stress in the wake of this global public health crisis. Stress can lead to many medical issues, including for your smile.
If your oral health begins to decline due to heightened stress, your smile’s appearance may diminish too. Recognizing behaviors that occur due to stress can help you preserve your smile. Read on to find three habits that stem from increased stress which can lead to cosmetic damage to your smile.
Stress-Related Habits That Can Hurt Your Smile
Staining Teeth with Dark-Colored Beverages
Stress can disrupt your sleep patterns. If you wake up feeling groggy, you might turn to a caffeinated beverage like tea or coffee for an energy boost to get you through your busy day.
But beverages like coffee and tea get their dark color from substances called tannins. These can absorb into the enamel of your teeth, leaving deep stains that cannot be removed with your usual teeth brushing.
Some people will add milk to their drink or sip through a straw to reduce the chances of tooth discoloration from these beverages. But dentists recommend limiting these drinks in your diet to protect your tooth color. If you notice yellowing or staining in your smile, ask your dentist about teeth whitening treatment options.
Breaking Teeth by Grinding
Stress generates tension in the body that may manifest in the grinding or clenching of your teeth. The grating of the top teeth against the bottom teeth will create abnormally high amounts of pressure on your teeth.
Your teeth ordinarily endure wear and tear from chewing and biting without issue. But these high pressures might make your teeth chip or crack. These dental injuries will disrupt the look of your smile, but you may also put your oral health at risk if you do not seek prompt repair of these teeth.
Your dentist can restore your smile with a crown or cosmetic dental solutions. But they may suggest reducing your stress levels to get rid of this habit. They may also give you a custom-made night guard to wear so that you can protect your teeth from grinding that may occur as you sleep.
Skipping Crucial Routine Dental Care
When you feel stressed, you might be tempted to skip routine appointments like teeth cleanings in order to free up your schedule. Though you think you can avoid the hassle of scheduling visits to the dentist’s office, you are missing out on crucial preventative dental care without these appointments.
During these visits, your dentist scrapes tartar and plaque build-up from your teeth in hard-to-reach spots of the mouth. This ensures that lingering residues will not harm your teeth.
They also perform an oral health exam during these appointments. With these check-ups, dentists can find early signs of dental problems that may hurt the look and feel of your teeth. Then they can offer swift treatment before you experience lasting damage. So make sure you visit your dentist as directed.