April is National Stress Awareness Month. Dr. Heather Fleschler would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the harmful effects stress can have on your life. Not only does stress impact your digestive and immune systems, but it can also affect your oral health. Stress can be a common cause of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), a painful condition that occurs when your jaw becomes misaligned.
When you are highly stressed, your body tenses up and you are more likely to engage in actions such as grinding your teeth, which ultimately can create problems with your jaw. Therefore, a great way to reduce your risk of developing TMJ is to minimize the level of stress in your life.
Here are 5 things you can do to keep your stress levels down:
- Eat healthy whole foods – Leafy greens, avocados, seeds, and blueberries can actually help you relax and reduce stress. Include them in your diet on a regular basis.
- Meditate – Meditation is a great way to relax, clear your mind, energize your brain, and reduce your overall stress level. When you are feeling particularly stressed, meditation can be a great tool.
- Use essential oils – Applying a blend of essential oils to your temples and wrists can have a calming effect on your body, helping you to release anger and frustration.
- Laugh more often – Laughter is one of the greatest stress reduction tools. A study in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences demonstrated an association between laughing regularly and having lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter also promotes endorphin release in the brain, which is important for stress relief.
- Eat dark chocolate – A study published in the journal Proteome Research found that eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate every day for a two week period was associated with a reduction in cortisol levels.
Hopefully you find these stress reduction techniques helpful in your life. If you find that you’re experience jaw and facial pain – whether due to stress or other factors – Dr. Fleschler can help you get the relief you need.
Please contact Dr. Heather Fleschler using the form at the right side of the page or call (713) 660-6500 today to schedule your TMJ consultation. Dr. Fleschler serves patients in the Houston, Texas areas of Bellaire, West University, Meyerland, and River Oaks.