Holiday burnout is real, and it can be a real problem for your smile if you’re not careful. Many people, at some point in the hustle and bustle of December, wonder (at least for a moment) when it will stop. We have nothing against the holiday season. Who doesn’t love the sounds of sleigh bells and the smell of hot apple cider with cinnamon sticks? Who doesn’t love warming themselves by a cozy fire, or visiting with friends and loved ones during holiday gatherings? Still, all of the busyness that accompanies this season can be stressful.
There are several issues with stress. The one that we want to discuss is bruxism. Stress is, in fact, the primary cause of jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding. Because the holiday season can pile on a significant amount of stress, there is an increased risk for all of us to engage in a little grinding and clenching – or a lot. Because this happens when you sleep, you may not be aware of the damage that this habit could be doing to your oral structure. Rather than deal with unexpected dental problems, it seems better to learn ways to keep bruxism at bay.
Singling out Stress
Some people grind their teeth because of an alignment issue. More often, it is because their subconscious is working out stress the only time it can – during sleep. One of the best ways to protect yourself from bruxism is to manage stress with enjoyable activities. That could be a long stroll on a wintery afternoon. It could be reading a book by the fireplace, or sipping coffee with a friend. Stress management will look different for every person. As long as it works for you, you’re on the right track.
To Relax or Not to Relax
There are some interesting research findings that encourage us to rethink what we do to relax before bedtime. These findings are important, because proper relaxation is necessary to produce quality sleep, and a quiet, relaxed mind is necessary in order to sleep without grinding or clenching. Some of the activities that could be counterproductive to sleep include playing video games, consuming alcohol or caffeine, watching violent or riveting programs or movies, and even reading the latest gripping crime novel.
The holidays can be busy, yes; but there seems no better time to prioritize a little R & R. Your smile will thank you. Another thing your smile will thank you for is keeping up with routine dental care. To schedule your visit to Galleria Dental Aesthetics, call 703-448-1020.