December 2010 articles

’Tis the Season of Stress

The holidays are supposed to be a time for celebration, joy and togetherness. But party planning, shopping lists, financial strain and an endless sea of gifts to wrap can make for quite a stressful season too.

Stress is tough on your mind, your body and yes, even your mouth. Research shows that stress actually makes it more difficult for our bodies to fight infection, including gingivitis and gum disease. If left untreated, bacteria from the mouth can spread below the gum line, causing loss of teeth and heart and kidney problems.

Don’t let stress sink its teeth into your holiday, or your mouth.

Relax. Set aside a little bit of time each day to relax — whether it’s five minutes of meditation in the mall parking lot or an hour-long soak in a bath full of bubbles. Try closing your eyes and doing gentle neck stretches while brushing your teeth.

Refuel. Healthy eating is especially important during the holidays when sugar, sweets and snacks abound. Stave off snacking with fiber-rich foods, which are more filling, and satisfy a sweet tooth with fresh fruit or yogurt. By making healthy choices for snacks and meals, a well-deserved treat at a holiday party will feel even better.

Recharge. A good night’s sleep can make a whole day different. Allow your body time to rest up and repair. Trigger habits – like brushing before bed every night – let your body know it’s time to wind down, which can help you fall asleep. Stress can also aggravate nocturnal tooth grinding, so use a mouth guard if you’re at risk.


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