The holiday season can be stressful and even difficult for some, me included. I also see a lot of folks at this time of year with dental manifestations of stress. So, here are some suggestions on how to hopefully stay on an even keel and perhaps enjoy this time of year a little more and better preserve your dental health:
- Reduce stress by continuing to exercise and by trying to remain more tolerant. For me, this means sticking to my Pilates class schedule, walking as much as I can, and trying to avoid antagonizing my sister!
- Stick to Healthy Habits. Exercise and watch your caloric intake and alcohol consumption. Trying to keep my weight gain to a minimum can be a challenge but at least I’m paying attention to it. A few lighter meals thrown in can make all the difference when you know you are facing elaborate dinner parties!
- Stick to a budget. Financial woes can be among the most detrimental stressors affecting anyone. Don’t get overextended trying to make things better for everyone around you. It just seems to come back to bite you in the end.
- Relax your face and jaw muscles. I always see a lot of folks with stress-induced jaw pain around this time of year. It’s usually related to spasms of the masticatory (chewing) muscles related to stress. Remember the rule: Lips together and teeth apart! A little facial massage can often help. Tell me if you are clenching or grinding. In addition to damaging the teeth, these habits can also cause scores of seemingly unrelated symptoms. I have some easy exercises and tips for reducing clenching and preventing the damage that can result from grinding.
I hope these tips help you to enjoy your best holidays ever!
In the meantime, I’d be more than happy to address any of your concerns regarding the health of your teeth. Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667.
It’s that time of year again! Hermey, Santa’s Elf, who aspires to become a dentist, has offered a few suggestions along with the ADA for keeping that smile bright for the holidays:
- For those of us with unused dental benefits for the year, it’s still not too late to take advantage. If you need treatment, or if it’s been more than 6 months since your last cleaning, call today to get an appointment before the end of the year.
- Consider “Smile Friendly” stocking stuffers. Tooth brushes, floss, and tooth paste make great stocking stuffers! You might also consider the gift of an electric toothbrush. Most of the stores have great deals at this time of year. We also have rebate coupons for some of the more popular brushes here at the office!
- Hum a Christmas Carol or any song of your choice while brushing. We’re supposed to brush for 2 minutes and most songs are about 2 minutes long. (Most people don’t brush for 2 minutes unless they are using an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer!) And don’t forget to floss in between all the teeth at least once a day.
- Don’t open gifts with your teeth (or otherwise use them as tools). Most of the chipped front teeth I encounter are the result of some unintended use, i.e. biting fingernails, chewing ice, etc.
- For whiter teeth, you can use over the counter toothpastes or whitening strips, but for best results, have it done in the office. The toothpastes whiten mostly by using abrasives, which ultimately wear the enamel away. This can leave teeth actually looking gray or darker from the exposing the underlying tooth structure.
- Stick to your routine! With all the holiday parties and sweet treats, don’t deviate from your normal home care routine. Brush and floss regularly to keep the Grinch at bay!
I’d be more than happy to address any of your concerns regarding the health of your teeth, or provide you with rebate coupons on electric toothbrushes during your next visit. Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667.
I just read a very enjoyable article by Mark Remy in the August issue of Runner’s World (“Drill, Baby, Drill,” pp.26-28). In the article Mark likens “speed training” to a dental visit. Not exactly flattering, but both can be equally anxiety producing and both necessary for improvement, whether it be for your performance as a runner or for your health. (I ran both in high school and then in college at Temple University many years ago).
It’s been estimated that there are 80 million suffering from dental phobia in this country. That’s almost ¼ of the population! The psychologists have a term for it. It’s called “experiential avoidance”. Basically, it’s a process involving excessive negative evaluations of unwanted private thoughts, feelings, and sensations, an unwillingness to experience these private events, and deliberate efforts to control or escape from them. Sounds like a dental visit for a lot of people I know!
The bottom line is, procrastination tends to compound itself. The longer we put something off, the worse it becomes in our mind, which itself is a form of suffering. A dental visit is rarely as bad as one might have imagined before actually experiencing it. All these years in dentistry has taught me one thing for sure, ignoring your dental health is a certain way to ensure painful and costly problems. Be true to your teeth, or they’ll be false to you!
I’d be more than happy to discuss any of your concerns regarding trips to the dentist and how we can help you during your next visit. Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667.