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Posted by: The Probe 2nd April 2020
We all get stressed from time to time – it’s only natural given the pressures that we face in everyday life. But the most recent research commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation suggests that stress is more commonplace than perhaps many of us realise.[i] Indeed, the study (the largest of its kind to date) found that in the previous year 74% of 4,169 adults polled were so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. That’s nearly three in four people. The results also showed that younger adults are among those most at risk of suffering from stress, with just 7% able to claim that stress hadn’t gotten the better of them. By comparison, 30% of people aged 55 and over surveyed felt that their stress was under control and 29% reported not being stressed at all.
Not only does this tell us that stress is currently extremely prevalent in the UK, but that the severity of the issue in terms of the long-term impact it can have on a person’s health is an extremely pertinent problem that must be dealt with swiftly and effectively. To help with this, Stress Awareness Month will be running throughout April 2020, giving health care professionals the opportunity to increase public awareness about the possible causes and cures.
If you’d like to participate in the fight against the stress epidemic that is taking hold of the UK there are a number of ways you can help during April and beyond. For starters, just be there for your patients – talk about stress and the associated emotional and psychological effects. This can have a positive impact as it helps to reduce the stigma surrounding the issue, not to mention that listening can be a powerful healer. You can also encourage self-care and educate patients on the importance of exercising, eating well and oral hygiene.
After all, patients can experience a number of oral health issues as a result of stress so it’s important that you help them to understand ways in which they can prevent these risks occurring. One of the most common problems is bruxism, with the Bruxism Association suggesting that approximately 70% of sleep bruxers cite stress and anxiety as the cause of their nocturnal grinding.[ii] Bruxism is highly damaging to teeth, and many who live with the condition will need to eventually have extensive restorative work done if they do not kick the response by identifying its cause. Stress can also lead to periodontal disease,[iii] as well as cause hyposalivation and oral dryness.[iv] That’s why the right support, hygiene advice and oral health tools are essential.
Factors such as work, money, health and personal matters (not to mention wider issues like politics and current affairs) mean that stress will always be an issue for Brits, but with the help of professionals like yourself people need not suffer unnecessarily. By lending an ear and speaking openly about stress and educating patients about the risks stress can cause and its impact on oral health, you can make a difference. Take action today for a more relaxed, healthy tomorrow.
For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk call 01788 575050 or email email@example.com
[i] Mental Health Foundation (May 2018). Stress: Are we coping? London: Mental Health Foundation. Accessed online 18 December 2019 at file:///Users/officeone/Downloads/stress-are-we-coping%20(1).pdf
[iii] Goyal S, Gupta G, Thomas B, Bhat K M , Bhat G S. Stress and periodontal disease: The link and logic!! 2013; 22 (1): pp.4-11. Industrial Psychiatry Journal. Accessed online 18 December 2019 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3895311/
[iv] Bergdahl M, Bergdahl J. Low Unstimulated Salivary Flow and Subjective Oral Dryness: Association with Medication, Anxiety, Depression and Stress. 2000; 79: 1652. Journal of Dental Research. Accessed online 18 December 2019 at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jan_Bergdahl/publication/12301087_Low_Unstimulated_Salivary_Flow_and_Subjective_Oral_Dryness_Association_with_Medication_Anxiety_Depression_and_Stress/links/0046351cae8c9472cc000000.pdf