How Stress Can Cause Teeth Grinding

Stress often leads to bad oral habits like teeth grinding and clenching. It puts tremendous forces on a person's teeth, which wears them down over time. It is not uncommon for people who grind their teeth to end up with flat chewing surfaces.

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding, and it can also lead to dental restorations like fillings, crowns and veneers becoming damaged. The most severe cases of bruxism can cause temporomandibular joint disorders and headaches in the morning.

Most cases of teeth grinding occur at night while the patient is sleeping, so many are not even aware of the habit unless told by their significant other or a dentist notices their chewing surfaces are flattened during an examination.

Why people clench or grind their teeth

While there is still much to be learned about bruxism, stress is one of the main factors that contribute to it. Stress can also lead to other issues like breakouts on the skin or stomach pain. Others grind their teeth because of bite issues like misaligned teeth. People who use stimulants like caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs are more likely to grind their teeth. There are also certain medications that can increase a person's odds of having bruxism.

Children are more likely to grind their teeth, but most do not require any treatment since they normally outgrow it.

How to deal with stress-related bad oral habits

Being aware of oral habits and identifying the root cause is the first step toward getting it under control. People with stress-induced bruxism can lower their stress levels by working out, listening to relaxing music, taking a warm bath, meditating, performing breathing exercises and many other things.

The damage caused by grinding teeth can also be minimized with the use of a mouthguard. The patient wears the device before going to bed, and it prevents the person's teeth from making contact when grinding. This reduces the forces on the teeth, as well as the jaw muscles. The type of mouthguards used to address bruxism are also called occlusal guards.

If a person grinds their teeth because of a bite issue, a dentist can realign their teeth and remove some enamel to make sure the teeth match properly. The process is called a bite adjustment. People with more serious bite issues might need orthodontic devices like braces or aligners to move their teeth into the proper position.

A patient's bite can also be stabilized by replacing any teeth that are missing. There is a tendency for teeth to shift toward gaps in a person's smile, and that can lead to bite issues.

Stress can have serious negative effects on your dental and overall health. Finding activities that help you de-stress can be very beneficial. It can help you avoid issues like teeth grinding, which can lead to serious dental issues down the road.

Want to learn more about how stress is related to dental health? Talk to a dentist today.

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For more information about how stress can have negative effects on your dental health or to schedule an appointment with Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry LLC, request an appointment in our LaGrange dental office here: https://www.healthysmilesfamilydentistryllc.com. Or call us at (706) 713-5286.

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