Many of us celebrate the holiday season with a trek to the theater to soak in the richness and finesse of talented dancers performing the beloved Tchaikovsky ballet, The Nutcracker. If you’re familiar with the story, you may remember the scene at the beginning– before all the dancing flowers and sugar plum fairies show up– when Clara’s jealous brother hurts the nutcracker’s jaw.
While stress takes a toll on all areas of your body, it really does a number on your jaw. That’s because many of us respond to stress by clenching ,or even grinding, our teeth at night. Teeth grinding, called bruxism, wears down our teeth and can cause receding gums as well. All that clenching puts strain on the muscles of your jaw, creating soreness. And sometimes, bruxism can be so intense that a tooth can actually crack– if that happens, call Dr. Lawrence right away.
To avoid this series of unfortunate events, practice stress reducing activities like walking, yoga, or meditation, and take time out for self care. Sound sleep, healthy, nutritious diet, and time to relax are all a critical part of keeping the busy holiday season from taking its toll on your health!
One important note: whether or not the holiday stress has gotten to you, if you are experiencing bruxism now, it is essential that you visit McKinney Smiles to be fitted for a mouthguard. Mouthguards protect teeth from the damage that can be done by teeth grinding.
Get the right tool for the job
It may sound strange, but around the holidays an influx of unusual teeth and jaw injuries can occur. Injuries sustained from attempts to crack nuts, open bottles, biting into food decorations, candy canes, ice, and even Christmas presents are all some unfortunate events that dental professionals have witnessed and attended to. Don’t let this be you!
The thing is: yes, your dental enamel is an amazing substance. It is, in fact, the hardest substance in your body– harder than bone. But tooth enamel was not made to be a bottle opener or even an opener of walnuts. Fortunately, we live in an age of endless gadgets to do our bidding– select a tool to do this job for you.
And, if your enamel has been weakened by exposure to acid and bacterial activity, it could be susceptible to further damage– like cracking! Heed the Nutcracker’s warning; be gentle with your jaw.
And of course, don’t forget to brush
We can’t give dental advice without including that! While we don’t see these issues in McKinney Smiles patients, dental pain– including jaw pain– can be caused by untreated cavities, poor dental hygiene, and lack of professional dental care. Stay true to your dental hygiene even during the busy holidays!
Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Lawrence, your McKinney, TX dentist, today!