How Is Stress Impacting Your Teeth?

model of teeth grinding

Are you going through a stressful time in your life? Sometimes, your body can communicate this in ways that aren’t good for your oral or overall health. In a study published in 2018, researchers found that chronic stress is actually a national epidemic for people from all backgrounds. Because the causes and solutions to this problem are so complex, sometimes it can’t always be treated. So, what should you do if your stress is impacting other parts of your body like your oral health? Read on to learn how your dentist can protect you from some of the effects.  

Why is Clenching and Grinding Your Teeth a Response to Stress?

Sometimes, stress can elicit physical responses like grinding and clenching your teeth. Most people aren’t aware that they’re even doing this until their dentist mentions something at their routine checkup and cleaning, or they start waking up with a sore jaw. So, why does your body do this as a response to stress?

Problems at work, in your personal life, or due to everyday problems like finances don’t just disappear as soon as you snooze. The more stress you suppress during the day to remain productive oftentimes the worse your body responds to it at night. In fact, ignoring these issues can make your bruxism even worse.

Is Bruxism a Common Problem?

Many people don’t realize they grind and clench their teeth until they begin noticing symptoms and damage to their oral health. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a common habit. According to the American Sleep Association, bruxism impacts 10 percent of adults in American and about 15 percent of children. When you add that up, that’s over 30 million people whose oral health is being affected by this bad habit, most of which go untreated and undiagnosed.

If you have a family history of bruxism, your chances of experiencing it are significantly higher. By knowing your history, you can take the necessary steps to reduce the impact that grinding and clenching will have on your teeth. Oftentimes, this damage is irreversible, so it’s important to take action and visit your dentist before you develop major dental problems because of it.

How Can Your Dentist Help?  

Because the reasons and solutions behind stress are so complex, it can be easy to let it take over or ignore it. In reality, your stress can have severe impacts on your overall wellbeing. You may not know, but it can also increase your risk of heart issues, migraines, obesity, and even oral health problems like dental decay.

You can take the first step to protect your health by visiting your dentist to get a custom-fitted night guard that will minimize the impact this habit has on your oral health. These guards will protect you from experiencing the uncomfortable effects grinding and clenching has and help prevent enamel erosion. Don’t hesitate to visit your dentist today for more information—you won’t regret it!

About the Author

Dr. Gene Gutman has been passionate about helping to diagnose and treat oral health issues that impact his patients’ daily life. He received his Certificate in Diagnosis and Treatment of Masticatory System Disorders in 1999. He offers treatments such as custom night guards and TMD therapy to help ease his patients’ headaches, facial pain, and improve their quality of life. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit Perfect Smiles of Bensalem’s website or contact 215-752-5911.