It’s well documented that stress can have an effect on your overall health, but did you know your oral health might also be at risk? Stress can lead to jaw clenching and/or teeth-grinding at night. Grinding teeth – also called bruxism – can make teeth more sensitive and affect the appearance of your smile. Sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked can also cause bruxism.
• Teeth grinding or clenching that could be loud enough to awaken your partner.
• Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured or chipped.
• Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth.
• Increased tooth sensitivity.
• Dull headaches.
• Jaw soreness or tooth pain.
• Neck and earaches.
Children can also experience teeth grinding, but it’s not as damaging a habit because their teeth and jaws grow and change. Most children outgrow teeth grinding by adolescence.
During Stress Awareness Month, remember to care for your teeth; don’t let your mouth take the brunt of your stress. Try positive stress-reducing techniques instead. Here are 4 strategies:
• Change your outlook. Try to see other life events as positive challenges rather than stressors.
• Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet and get enough sleep.
• Exercise regularly.
• Practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, stretching and deep breathing.
If you have any of the above symptoms, make sure to visit your dentist as soon as possible.