Though restrictions and regulations related to the COVID-19 global pandemic are lifting in many areas, this public health crisis has led to increased stress for many individuals. Stress can have negative effects on one’s health, including in the smile.
If your oral health declines, this may lead to changes in the way that the smile appears too. You can preserve your smile by knowing bad oral habits to watch out for. Read on to learn about three behaviors that stem from heightened stress levels which can lead to cosmetic concerns in your smile.
Cosmetic Issues Can Stem from Stress Habits
High Consumption of Beverages That Stain Teeth
Stress can affect your sleep schedule. If you do not get enough sleep, you may turn to caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee for an energy boost to get you through your busy day. But dark-colored drinks like coffee and tea get their color from substances called tannins.
Tannins will absorb into your teeth over time, leaving dark stains behind. You cannot remove these with your usual teeth brushing regimen.
You can lower your chances of forming discoloration on your teeth if you sip coffee or tea through a straw or add milk to your drink. But this will not stop this from happening completely. If you do notice staining or yellowing in your smile, ask your dentist about teeth whitening treatment.
Grinding and Clenching Teeth
Stress can create tension in the body which may affect muscles in the jaw. This may initiate or exacerbate a grinding or clenching behavior in the teeth.
This chronic habit, known as bruxism, often occurs without a patient’s notice, such as during sleep. Chronic bruxism may cause teeth to chip or crack, disrupting your smile’s appearance.
Your dentist may give you a custom-made night guard to wear while you sleep to protect your teeth from pressure generated by bruxism. The oral appliance will cushion the teeth against the grating motion, ensuring your teeth stay intact and safe. This will prevent teeth breakage and keep your smile looking and feeling its best.
Skipping Regular Dental Check-Ups
When you feel stressed, you might want to skip routine appointments like a dental check-up to save time and hassle. But if you miss preventative dental care, you could risk the health and appearance of your gorgeous smile.
During these appointments, your dentist cleans plaque and tartar build-up from your teeth. This ensures that your teeth can feel fresh and look their best. It will also prevent the plaque from causing structural damage to your smile.
The dentist will also check your teeth and gums for signs of dental problems like decay or gum disease. Then they can offer swift treatment to resolve these issues before they can cause lasting damage.
Untreated gum disease, for instance, may cause teeth to fall out, leaving gaps in your smile. So make sure you preserve your oral health by attending regular visits with your dentist.