There are many ways to manage stress, some of which are better for you than others. While everyone is quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to indulge in stress management habits that only offer short-term satisfaction. Many of these habits, such as smoking, nail biting, and excessive snacking, can have a negative impact on your oral health. Rather than letting these undesirable habits impact your health, your dentist in Suwanee has some alternate suggestions to help you manage stress while keeping your beautiful smile.
Stress and Your Oral Health
Studies have shown that people are more likely to seek out instant gratification while under stress. Whether taking the form of food, drink, or cigarettes, short-term solutions help to ease some of our stress and make you feel more in control. However, when your go-to form of stress relief harms your oral and overall health, it may be advisable to look for another way of coping.
Though these habits come in many forms, some of the most harmful to your oral health are:
- Smoking: The destructive impact of smoking on your oral health has been well-documented. Cigarette smoking has been linked to multiple forms of cancer, periodontal disease, tooth staining, as well as a number of systemic conditions.
- Nail Biting: Nail biting may seem harmless enough as a way of managing stress. However, biting your nails can wear away at your enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to decay and more prone to breaking. Additionally, the bacteria underneath your fingernails can potentially cause illness and infection.
- Frequent Snacking: While staying at home in quarantine, it’s easy to start snacking often. It’s a simple way of taking your mind off of whatever task you may be doing. However, if you aren’t vigilant with your oral hygiene habits, frequent snacking can lead to excessive buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth, leaving you more vulnerable to developing periodontal disease.
Most dental offices are only seeing emergency patients during the pandemic, so it’s more important than ever to maintain healthy habits and practice good oral hygiene. The last thing you want is an emergency trip to the dentist’s office.
Better Alternatives for Managing Stress
While self-indulgence is fine in moderation, there are other ways to manage your stress that can have positive impacts on your oral health and overall well-being.
For example, instead of opting for your go-to form of stress relief, you may consider:
- Exercise: The benefits of exercise on your physical and mental health are myriad. Studies show that even small amounts of daily exercise can have a tremendous impact on your mood and sense of well-being. Consider finding short, simple workouts to do from the comfort of your own home.
- Healthier Snacking: If you often find yourself snacking on unhealthy foods, consider replacing them with foods that can boost your oral health. Fibrous foods like apples and celery can help to remove plaque from your teeth while you’re chewing them.
- Journaling: Taking five to ten minutes out of your day to jot down your thoughts and feelings can be a great form of stress relief. Journaling can help you to put your stress in perspective and help you to unwind and relax.
These are unprecedented, taxing times. Developing new, positive approaches to managing stress can pay dividends for years to come. Though self-indulgence can feel fulfilling in the short-term, focusing on your oral and systemic health will keep you feeling good for life.
About the Author
Dr. Brian Lee is dedicated to providing his patients with modern, state-of-the-art dentistry. He loves helping his patients live their best lives at Dentistry at Suwanee. A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Dr. Lee is constantly continuing his education so that he can treat his patients as comprehensively as possible. Even during quarantine, he is here to help educate and guide his patients. If you’d like to learn even more healthy habits that you can practice at home, you can email Dr. Lee or call his office at (678) 541-7452.