We all know chronic stress can take a toll on our health: depression, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and anxiety disorders are just a few of the conditions that stress can trigger. But did you know that elevated stress levels can also affect your oral health? According to a recent study, patients who report high stress at home and in the workplace are more likely to grind their teeth (a condition known as bruxism). And it’s not only the stress – coping mechanisms may play a role too.
Here’s what the study found: People with a greater occurrence of bruxism were more likely to:
Bruxism may not seem like a big deal when compared to other stress-induced illnesses, but it can greatly impact your day-to-day quality of living. Clenching and grinding can lead to tooth wear, loose teeth, bone degeneration, hypersensitivity, headaches, and chronic pain in the jaw. People who grind their teeth are at a greater risk of tooth loss, as well.
To help curb the ill effects of bruxism, Dr. Pate can provide a custom nightguard designed to minimize the damaging effects of involuntary gnashing, clenching, and grinding. A nightguard can also provide relief from tooth sensitivity and chronic headaches, although some stress-relief therapies may be recommended, as well.
If you’re experiencing high levels of stress, consider the following suggestions to help improve your mental, physical, and oral health:
While the precise stress factors that trigger bruxism are up for debate, the consensus is that stress certainly plays a large role. Talk to Dr. Pate about preventive techniques that will keep you smiling long-term. Contact us to schedule an appointment.