Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley CA
Stress and anxiety can take a toll on your health, especially during a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic. Symptoms of stress could include changes in sleeping or eating patterns, fear and worry about family or other loved ones, or worsening of chronic health problems. Your emergency dentists in Los Gatos at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry understand how stress and anxiety affects one’s health, such as worsening TMJ disorder or sleep apnea, which unfortunately, affects children too. Today on the blog, we are providing tips on how you and your family can manage stress during the pandemic, and how to tell if COVID-19 stress is affecting your health.
Ways to Manage Stress as a Family
- Talk About What’s Happening – Adults, as well as children and teens, could develop anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic. When you talk about the situation as a family, you could share facts and feelings about it. Knowing you are not alone in how you think and feel could create a connection within your family, bringing you closer together.
- Engage in Family Activities – Parents and children need time to take their mind off the coronavirus pandemic and have fun to reduce stress. Some activities could be a family walk, playing board games, throwing a football in the backyard, reading a book together, or simply watching a movie. By coming together as a family, your children may feel more safe and secure.
- Limit News Coverage About the Coronavirus – It is important to stay informed about new information emerging about the coronavirus. However, too much information could create additional stress and anxiety in adults and teens. Therefore, consider setting screen time (including TV) limits for everyone in the house. A good way to keep from being inundated with news alerts is to designate certain times of the day that everyone “unplugs” from their devices.
- Try to Maintain Routines – Children often thrive when maintaining a routine, which can provide a sense of comfort. Even if children are not in school, it is a good idea to establish a regular routine of learning activities, fun, and relaxation to lower stress and anxiety levels.
- Stay Healthy – A weakened immune system has a difficult time combating illnesses. Therefore, it is important to get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and make healthy choices at mealtimes.
What Could Happen if Stress is Not Well Managed
If your stress and anxiety are not well managed, you could worsen oral health issues such as bruxism, TMJ, or sleep apnea. Let’s take a look at how stress affects these common conditions.
Bruxism involves clenching and grinding your teeth while asleep. Most patients are unaware that they have bruxism until their dentists in Santa Cruz at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry sees signs of it in the form of wear and tear on their teeth.
Since you might not see the dentist for a few weeks, you can look out for these signs of bruxism
- Waking up with headaches
- Sore jaw joints
- Tooth pain or sensitivity
- Receding gums
- Teeth that are worn down on the chewing surface
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Damaged dental restorations
Bruxism could also lead to TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder, a condition caused by the misalignment of the jaw. TMJ is caused by clenching and grinding your teeth and could result in painful sensations in your jaw, neck, and debilitating headaches. When a patient is dealing with stress-inducing situations such as the coronavirus pandemic, TMJ could lead to difficulties sleeping because your jaw is out of line, and possibly resulting in an airway blockage most often associated with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea occurs when your airway is restricted during sleep, causing pauses in breathing. Sleep-breathing disorders can lead to restless sleep, chronic fatigue, irritability, and it even compromises your immune system. It is essential to treat sleep apnea because it will not go away on its own. Chronic snoring, waking up with a dry or sore throat, and feeling tired even after sleeping enough hours each night are common signs of sleep apnea in adults. Children, however, may exhibit behavioral disorders (they aren’t just acting up because they are stuck inside all day), poor performance in school, and mouth breathing or snoring while asleep.
Bruxism, TMJ disorder, and sleep apnea are conditions that affect people of all ages, including children. Stressful situations can exacerbate these disorders.
Here’s how to tell if you or a family member needs emergency dental care during the pandemic
- Severe dental pain that is unexplained
- Sore, tender, or painful jaws that prevent ability to eat nutritious foods
- Inability to open the mouth or close it without severe pain
- Lockjaw (jaw is locked in place)
- Unable to sleep, frequent awakenings at night
- Chronic fatigue that interferes with ability to function each day
Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry is available for emergent dental care at this time. However, the above-mentioned symptoms could affect your ability to eat properly and get the rest you need to remain healthy during the pandemic. Please contact our office for a virtual consultation if you believe that you or your family member is suffering from these symptoms. Our doctors will determine what level of care is needed, and how best for you to get the care that you need during the pandemic.
Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California
Your mental health could easily affect your overall health condition during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about stress-induced oral health issues or to inquire about your condition, feel free to call your Scotts Valley neuromuscular dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry at (831) 438-4411 or contact us online.