Your smile is important. It’s how you communicate your joy to the world and it makes you feel great. Did you know that 30% of people globally aged 65–74 years have lost all of their natural teeth?
You may not realise that stress can actually play a huge part on your smile. We asked Dr. Surinder Arora of Soul Smile to share with us how we can ensure that our smiles stay conscious, whole and we have a super smile.
In 1996, oral diseases resulted in 2.4 million days of work and 1.6 million days of school lost in the United States alone. Shockingly, worldwide, between 60-90% of school children experience tooth decay. Having worked in various institutions in the UK, across the NHS, and in private practice, I currently practice in Singapore as a dentist helping people to achieve super smiles. I still hear similar stories of bleeding gums, dental pain, crooked teeth and loose teeth on a daily basis.
Breaking away from the ‘you need this’ mindset
The society we live in is constantly on our case. You need this to feel great. Buy this to look beautiful. Keep up with the latest phone, watch, fashion – the list goes on. These subliminal messages alter the way we view ourselves. Could my teeth be whiter? Could my teeth be straighter? How do I look when I smile? Whether we like it or not, we’re living in a world where our appearance speaks volumes about us.
Evidence shows that the state of our teeth is associated with a high or low social and economic status. A low socioeconomic status is associated with dental disease and crooked teeth which are perceived to be less attractive. This could be crucial if you’re in the dating scene or are going for a job interview.
Losing teeth from stress.. it’s a thing
David was 32 years old when he came to see me. Tall, dark, handsome. He appeared a little agitated as he sat down in the dental chair, as he said ‘Doctor, I need your help, I have pain in my front tooth and it’s shaky’. I peered into his mouth and noted one of his lower front teeth were waving in the breeze (air-con in this case). I was a little surprised before I found out that he was stressed out at work with long hours, short deadlines and no time to think. Sounds familiar?
David couldn’t possibly show his face at work without a front tooth, so his next appointment involved me removing his lower front tooth and fitting a denture. He’s 32 years old and has to take his denture out before he sleeps. The cause? Stress. At his final appointment, he shared that he was about to make a career move primarily for his health. I smiled at him and he smiled back with his denture completing his expression.
Dr Surinder Arora’s #littlegreensteps
We often don’t realize that stress can have such a huge effect on our smile. All David wanted was to be able to smile confidently and to be out of pain. Maybe if we’d caught this problem earlier, the result would have been different. You’re busy we know. So besides brushing and flossing daily, here are 3 little green steps you can take to a super smile.
- Chew your food
With busy lifestyles and so much going on, it’s easy to inhale your meal. Chewing is an important part of digestion. Saliva is secreted which contains salivary amylase (an important enzyme). This begins the digestive process of breaking down the food. Chewing your food releases the nutrients within the food for your body and also makes the food easier to digest as it is in smaller particles. Jaw gyms are few and far between so the best workout you can give your muscles is by chewing tough foods. This will help to keep these muscles strong and healthy.
- Breathe deep
Many of us breathe through our mouths rather than our noses. Hands up who snores? This is a sure sign of mouth breathing and leads to all sorts of health problems including reduced oxygen to the brain. In children, breathing through the nose is essential for the development of the jaws and for the development of straighter teeth. Breathing is also essential in controlling stress levels. When we’re overexcited or feeling stressed our body responds with a raised heart rate, raised adrenaline and raised cortisol levels as the sympathetic nervous system kicks in. On the contrary, when we’re composed, our heart rate is slower and we enter a state of feeling relaxed as the parasympathetic nervous system takes over. Managing your stress may help to combat gum disease.
- Balance your diet
Eating real food is essential in maintaining a healthy smile. Ditch those sugary and refined products. Whole foods packed with nutrients and fat soluble vitamins are a must. Too much sugar combined with bacteria creates an acidic environment on the teeth leading to dental decay. It can also sit around the gums resulting in gum disease. To avoid dental disease, eat a whole foods balanced diet.
So until next time, use these conscious #littlegreensteps to keep smiling.
Price A. Weston (1945) Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Lemon Grove, California. Price Pottenger Foundation.