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Come on Down! You're the Next Contestant on the Stress-Free Fight

By Jill Hamilton on April 23, 2015 in Healthy Living


Young woman calling by phone and writing in notebook

Managing stress can be trickier than choosing the winning case on Deal or No Deal. Stress causes many of us to fall into bad habits, which can be hazardous to our well-being.

Spinning the wheel on Wheel of Fortune takes luck. Fortunately, the stress game is one you can win. Once you control your stress, your physical, emotional and dental health will begin to benefit. And you'll be rewarded with best showcase of all – your smile!

Take control of these 4 common stress habits: 

1. Eating this can make your stress worse.

What is junk food

It's no surprise we reach for sweets during moments of stress. Stress can impact what you crave, which oftentimes leads to emotional eating. Furthermore, sugar contributes to higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol can also harm your teeth, gums and Vanna White smile.

The Winning Answer: Combat stress with good nutrition. It can be tempting to cope with candy, but force yourself to pick a healthier option. And, if a visual trigger isn't present, we're less likely to unconsciously reach for unhealthy snack selections. Keep nutritious foods in your home and office — your body and grin will feel the difference.

2. This can increase stress and damage your judgment.

What is lack of sleep

It's tempting to stay awake to finish work or that new Netflix series. There are many reasons to hit the hay at a reasonable hour. For starters, sleep deprivation slows cognitive function. And, when your brain isn't on it's A-game, you're more likely to make mistakes. Lack of sleep is the second most influential factor associated with the onset of gum disease.

The Winning Answer: Get more shut-eye by implementing a regular rest time ritual. A calming routine lets your body know it's time to sleep. Remember to include brushing and flossing in your pre-slumber steps.

3. An attitude that consistently sees the glass as “half-empty.”

What is a negative outlook?

When we don't have control in a situation, we're more likely to feel stressed. Pessimists have poor health and are linked with higher rates infectious disease.

The Winning Answer: Change your outlook and you'll automatically increase your odds in the stress game. Even if you don't have full control of a stressful situation, you can still choose to react positively and smile. 

4. “Lack of Time” is the top reason millions of Americans do this.

What is skipping the gym?

60% of Americans adults don't get the recommended amount of exercise, while 24% aren't active at all. You know exercise is important, but when life gets busy, hitting the gym might not take top priority. Lack of physical activity is a risk factor for obesity; a disease linked with dental health problems. 

The Winning Answer:  A little exercise goes a long way. Even if you're slammed, take a few minutes to move. As little as 3 minutes of exercise can reduce your stress levels. Why? When you exercise your brain produces mood-boosting brain chemicals.

Remember: Good dental health is strongly linked with overall well-being. Keep your stress in-check and your smile and body will benefit. You'll feel better than winning a “newwww car!”