Stress in the Workplace Can Increase Cavities

A recent study by the United Kingdom’s Oral Health Foundation has found that stress eating at work is causing a lot of cavities in the nation. It seems that in times of high stress, such as during the workday, people are reaching for unhealthy snacks loaded with sugar and fat to help calm their nerves. Unfortunately, while sometimes effective, this stress eating is taking its toll on people’s waistlines – and their teeth.

“The main problem is the stress hormone known as cortisol,” says Dr. Allison Lesko, a dentist in Fort Collins, Colorado. “When cortisol is released, we feel hungry, and eating sugary and fatty foods quells that hunger.”

The good news is that other foods that don’t contain high amounts of bad fats and sugar can have the same effect – but those foods have to be available.

“It’s easy to reach for a candy bar if that’s what’s in the vending machine at work,” says Lesko, “which is why it’s important if you find yourself binging on comfort foods to pack your own healthy snacks.”

Lesko recommends stocking your office with fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, crackers and dairy products, all of which are filling but won’t attack your teeth and your waistline like a doughnut or cupcake would.

“If you have healthier options on hand, you’ll be less likely to reach for whatever is in the break room,” she says. “But it still may be worth asking whoever stocks the snacks to provide some healthier options if all they’re providing is junk food.”

As for other stress-busting options, there are healthy ways to beat the pressure that don’t involve eating, such as taking a brisk walk, listening to a few minutes of soothing music, doing some yoga stretches or deep breathing exercises, and even diffusing some calming essential oils.

“We can’t eat every time we get stressed at work, or we’d never stop eating,” Lesko says. “The trick is to find something that calms you down without being too obvious. It would be difficult to stop a meeting and go for a jog. But you could discreetly do a breathing exercise or even some stretching if you’re on a conference call.”

If you still do reach for that chocolate when the going gets tough, Lesko says to remember to brush your teeth afterward, or at the very least rinse your mouth out with water, so those cavity-causing sugars aren’t sitting on your teeth all day. And if you find yourself gritting or grinding your teeth in a moment of frustration, speak to your dentist about being fitted for a mouth guard.

“Grinding your teeth has no calories, but it can cause your teeth to crack or break, so you definitely aren’t doing your body any favors doing that,” Lesko says.

Contact The Fort Collins Dentist Family & Implant Dentistry:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

2001 S Shields St Bldg L
Fort Collins, Colorado

The Surprising Benefits of Chewing Gum

With so much misinformation out there about gum (no, it doesn’t stay in your stomach for seven years if you swallow it), it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. Here’s a go-to guide to learn everything you need to know about chewing gum!

Yes, It Really Is Good for Your Teeth!

Believe it or not, chewing sugarless gum is actually good for your teeth. That’s because it neutralizes the acid that cavity-causing bacteria thrive on. This in turn helps prevent cavities.

It Freshens Your Breath

It’s probably safe to say that everyone wants fresh, clean breath – and chewing sugarless gum can freshen your breath without adding dangerous sugars that can harm your teeth. Cleaner, fresher breath not only feels great, but it’s also a great little confidence boost. Especially when you consider that a recent study by found that of 5,000 singles surveyed, 43 percent chose fresh breath as the most important thing prior to a date!

It Reduces Stress

Chewing gum reduces stress because it reduces the stress-causing chemical known as cortisol. Cortisol is a dangerous stress hormone that can interfere with everything from information retention to learning and even immune function. It can also reduce bone density, increase weight gain, and raise cholesterol and blood pressure. Worse yet, high levels of cortisol have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Another study found that the pleasant smell and taste of chewing gum stimulates the senses and creates a feeling of pleasure in the brain.

It Improves Alertness

Chewing gum was found to help chewers retain information when completing memory-related tasks. It also has been proven to improve the attention span and even reaction times. Find yourself tired at that 4 p.m. meeting? Chew a stick of sugarless gum for an instant pick-me-up!

It Aids in Weight Loss

Chewing gum is a great way to get that sweet taste you are craving without ruining your diet on sweets. In conjunction with a reduced-calorie, increased-activity diet, chewing gum can even help manage hunger and help increase weight loss. But don’t expect it to do all the work for you – remember, chewing gum works to help your diet, it should not be your diet.

It’s Fun!

OK, admit it: You’re never too old to blow a bubble. What other food can you do that with? So go ahead and reach for that sugarless gum -without the guilt – and have fun with it!

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lesko, please call 970-221-5115.

Contact The Fort Collins Dentist Family & Implant Dentistry:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

2001 S Shields St Bldg L
Fort Collins, Colorado

3 Tips for Stress Relief for TMJ Sufferers

Life is stressful! For some, handling the stress and anxiety of everyday life can be a serious challenge. One area that many people don’t realize is affected by stress is the jaw joint. The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, which connects the jaw to the skull, is a very complex joint. It can be felt by placing your hands on each side of your face just under your ears and opening and closing your jaw.