Look after your Teeth in this time of Covid
The coronavirus (Covid 19) pandemic may be stressful for many of you. The anxiety and worry can be overwhelming. Our bodies react to stress on a physical and emotional level, even though we may not be aware of that. Emotionally, stress can manifest itself in feelings of panic and worry, physically, in disturbed sleep, sweating and tensing muscles. Talking about it amongst your friends and family is important.
Stress in general can depress our immune system making the body more vulnerable to oral and general health issues. The stress hormone cortisol is released under stressful situations and acts to suppress the immune system and plays a role in increased gum disease and cardiovascular disease.
Oral Health and Stress
Anxiety can cause neglect of oral hygiene and, looking after your oral health now is more important than ever. Daily oral hygiene can support feelings of wellbeing, and with links between gum disease, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, it has never been more important for men to take care of their teeth and gums. Choose the right tools for good oral hygiene
Emotional stress is a possible trigger for canker sores/mouth ulcers. However, if mouth ulcers don’t clear up within a few days, or if you get them frequently enough to cause concern, it’s important to seek the advice of a dentist who may refer more severe cases to a specialist for a thorough investigation. Stress can also cause a person to clench or grind their teeth. This results in the continuous loss of tooth enamel. You may only be aware of this damage to your teeth on visiting the dentist. Your dentist may recommend the wearing of a bite guard during sleep.
Eating & Drinking Habits
Eating and snacking has become more common during lockdown, leading to weight gain, according to the findings of the recent National COVID-19 Food Study (UCD and DCU). The foods and drinks we consume to nourish our body, and our eating habits, generally influence our health and wellbeing. A good diet reduces the risk for tooth decay, and other health related issues such as coronary heart disease, and stroke.
You may reach for alcohol in times of stress or worry, or smoke more, which has a negative impact on oral health. Did you know that Mouth Head and Neck Cancer is the sixth most common cancer in men worldwide? Smoking and drinking alcohol are the most important risk factors, but the risk is even greater if you smoke and drink. Alcohol plays a role in up to half of all cancers of the mouth, head and neck in men in Ireland.
Coping with Stress
Coping with stress in a healthy way such as regular exercise and stress management techniques may help to relieve it and to cope with anxieties, see some tips here from Mental Health Ireland
Be aware of the factors that affect your oral health and know where to go to get the best help and advice: www.dentalhealth.ie and www.dentist.ie