Whether your call it Winter Blues, depression or the more formal Seasonal Affective Disorder, it’s common to feel a bit down at this time of year but most people don’t realise how much it can affect their oral health!

Today we’re running through the dental effects of SAD and what you can do to counteract them while lifting your spirits along the way.

Why is January so tough on teeth?

SAD is thought to be primarily caused by a lack of sunlight reaching our skin, this plays havoc with our body’s ability to regulate energy levels, mood and sleep. January is the peak period for this and the depressive symptoms often cause a cocktail of results with unfortunate repercussions for our teeth:

Falling out of routine

As our body clock falters and tiredness sets in, it becomes common for people to skip daily tasks. Very often the first things to go are our daily care routines like brushing in the morning and evening. As you’d expect, this leaves our teeth and gums wide open to damage from plaque and oral bacteria.

Antidepressant medication

If symptoms are severe enough, GPs may prescribe antidepressants. While these can treat depression, a frequent side effect is dry mouth. As well as feeling uncomfortable, the lack of saliva in dry mouth sufferers puts them at risk of fungal infections, gum disease and tooth decay. Dry mouth can also interfere with the fit of dentures and leave wearers with painful sores.

Increased stress

Bruxism (grinding your teeth at night) affects about 10% of us with many of us not even noticing but the effects can be severe as we pointed out in a recent post on how to spot and stop night time grinding. The added pressures of SAD can mean an uptick in bruxism and its many dangers.

How to protect your teeth in January

Make your dental routine as easy as possible

Maintaining a twice daily brushing habit is absolutely key to good oral health. Whether you treat yourself to a fancy new toothbrush, commit to upgrade your brushing technique with Dr Denti Disclosing Tablets or decide to hack your water flosser with Dr Denti Mouthwash Tablets, do whatever it takes to keep your teeth and gums clean every morning and night.

Be prepared for dental emergencies

SAD can indirectly cause a host of dental emergencies. Poorly fitting dentures due to dry mouth are at a higher risk of breaking, gum disease can cause teeth to come loose and grinding trauma can result in chipped teeth or displaced dental crowns. Stay ahead of the game by keeping a Dental First Aid Kit in your medicine cupboard, temporary home treatments can save you plenty of embarrassment and discomfort while you wait for a dental appointment.

Book in for a check-up with your dentist

Particularly in cases where night time grinding is a concern, you should make an appointment to see your dentist for a check-up if you’re worried about your teeth. Getting a timely appointment is easier said than done but any issues that may arise will be much easier to fix if they’re spotted early. And in the meantime our range of Dr Denti Home Use products is widely available from pharmacies, stores and online retailers.

For more information on Dr Denti products, feel free to email us on info@gapdental.com or give our office a call on 01474 560 618.