5 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress
Stress – every single one of us experiences stress at least once in our lives, but let’s face it, some of us deal with it more often than we’d like. Many of my patients nowadays are stressed every single day due to a job or family situation. Take Adam J. for example. He is a financial executive for a major company and works long hours. He needs to produce results at work and all that stress is showing up as wear on his teeth from grinding and clenching.
April is Stress Awareness Month. Become aware of your stress and where in your body it shows up. What stresses you the most? Are you able to release the stress or do you bottle it up in some area of your body? I, for example, hold on my stress the upper part of my body and my neck. The way I release it is through exercise, yoga and massage. But if you’re like Adam and manifest your stress through grinding and clenching, it could rack up your dental bills quite a bit. Grinding can cause cracks in the teeth which can lead to tooth loss. It also causes wear, which can cause collapse of the bite and pain in the TMJ, right in front of the ears. Here are some tips to help you relieve the stress manifested in your teeth and jaw:
– If you grind your teeth at night, take the time to stretch your jaw muscles in the morning – do mouth yoga! 5 minutes go a long way! Open your mouth wide and massage the sides of your jaw. Close and repeat.
– Get a custom made night guard. The over the counter ones can do more harm if the bite is not in balance. A night guard will act like a shock absorber between your teeth and will prevent cracks. If you find yourself clenching during the day, wear your night guard as a day guard.
– If you are a gagger, try a lower night guard instead of an upper one. It’s much easier to wear from my own experience.
– Try meditation. Five minutes a day can go a long way. You can easily download a guided meditation/hypnosis app on your mobile device and listen to it before bedtime. One of my favorites is Dr Marc Schoen’s audio files. http://marcschoen.com/products/
– Use lavender essential oils in a cold diffuser or on the back of your neck to help you relax.
Now let’s talk about the effect that stress has on the rest of your body. Researchers from UCSF found that poor sleep leads to accelerated aging and a decreased performance of the immune system, especially in those who are obese. Poor sleep decreases the effectiveness of daily function, not only at the office, but also inside our cells. It is only normal that we see how poor healing is related to stress. When I was a student at the Ohio State University, a study was conducted to show that students during final exams heal a lot slower from oral surgery, than during spring break. So if you’re planning on having any kind of surgery, try to plan it during a period when you can take time to heal. Try to find at least a couple of days after your procedure where you can rest.
In great health,
For more tips on managing stress and healing from periodontal surgery contact Dr. Sanda Moldovan to schedule a consultation.