Many people struggle through stress and believe it just impacts mood and mental health. Stress directly impacts the body, too, including your teeth. If a person is under significant stress, especially if that stress is long-lasting, it can cause a number of health problems. That includes bruxism, also known as teeth grinding. Stress can also cause gum disease, canker sores, and TMJ disorder. Yet, teeth grinding is the most common and the most impactful on oral health.
When stress occurs, the body releases a hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone races through the bloodstream causing the heart to beat faster and your body to be ready to fight or flee the situation. Yet, stress isn’t always about a simple-to-solve problem. It often lasts a long time. That means that hormone remains in the bloodstream longer, impacting all of the organs as a result.
One of the ways your body may deal with the increased stress is through teeth grinding. Cleaning your teeth, especially at night, seems to offer stress relief to some people. Yet, that grinding, back-and-forth motion is also damaging your teeth in the process.
Teeth grinding occurs when the jaw is clenched tightly, and the lower jaw moves back and forth. Just the pressure of holding your teeth together for a long period of time, such as when you are sleeping, is teeth grinding.
When this occurs, the friction at the surface of the teeth worsens. It leads to dulling of the teeth. So much pressure can occur that the teeth crack, the gums start to pull away from the teeth, and pain is felt in the jaw.
You may be grinding your teeth if you have signs such as:
You may also be grinding your teeth if you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder. If you have pain in your jaw hinge that can be debilitating, let your dental team know what’s happening.
If you do nothing about bruxism, it can lead to additional oral health problems. This includes chipped teeth, painful infections, cracked teeth requiring removal, and gum disease. All of this can be prevented by getting help for teeth grinding as soon as you notice it is occurring.
Stress relief is an important first step in treating teeth grinding. If you are already engaging in it, it’s essential to visit a dentist for a full exam. Your dentist can determine what’s occurring and what can be done to prevent complications.
At home, there are a few more things you can do to prevent this condition:
One of the ways our team at Cedar Walk can help you is with the use of custom nightguards. Teeth grinding is dangerous to oral health and should not be ignored. Instead, seek out these nightguards.
The guard is custom designed to fit your mouth. Once in place, it does not allow for your teeth to rub together. That eliminates the risk of worsening damage.
The next step is to fix any problems that exist as a result of the teeth grinding. Even if you only noticed this recently, it may have occurred for some time. The damage can be repaired in various ways. Our restorative dentistry services can help to minimize any further damage and mitigate any existing problems.
Teeth grinding is a problem you don’t want to ignore. Instead, protect your oral health with the help of our team at Cedar Walk. Give us a call today to set up a consultation and exam. Let us help you find the best way to improve your smile.