Major life changes such as starting a family or relocating are often good things, yet you should be aware that even positive events generate stress. While you may already know to do things such as get enough rest, you might be unaware of the serious effects that stress can have on your oral health. Naturally, you should always reach out to your primary care physician for help coping with life's stresses. However, you should also mention these signs of stress to your general dentist, since they could lead to problems with your teeth and gums.
Feeling New Types of Pain
Headaches are commonly associated with stress, but there could be more going on than just some muscular tension in your forehead. People who are undergoing a major life event can also show signs of stress through behaviors that they are unaware of, such as nighttime tooth grinding. Always let your dentist know if you are experiencing new pain that originates along your jaw line or in your temples. This way, they can evaluate you for signs of clenching and grinding. If you are experiencing these behaviors, then wearing a mouth guard at night can prevent long-term damage from your new life situation.
Falling Back Into Old Habits
During times of stress, you may find that you fall back into old habits that you thought you'd kicked for the long run. Unfortunately, behaviors such as chewing on a pencil or smoking can be extremely detrimental to your oral health. Remember that an important part of general dentistry is helping people to limit the impact of bad habits on their oral health. From watching for signs of damage from chewing on hard objects to offering suggestions on how to stop negative behaviors, your dentist plays a role in helping you preserve your oral health.
Changing Your Diet
Many major life changes also bring alterations to your normal routine that impact your diet. For instance, you may turn to sugary beverages such as soda in an effort to boost your energy after a late night up with the baby, or you may skip lunch if you feel like you have to work extra hard after getting a promotion. Be sure to mention any changes to your diet to your dental team, since even something as small as not drinking enough water could increase your risk of tooth decay. In addition to checking for early signs of cavities, you may be a candidate for treatments such as special fluoride rinses or toothpastes that protect your enamel.
Now that your life is going well, you want to make sure it stays that way. By protecting your teeth from the stresses involved with positive life changes, you can look forward to enjoying your good fortune with a healthy smile. Contact your general dentist for more information and tips.