Stress can manifest itself physically in many ways – lack of sleep, headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, low energy and many more. But did you know that the daily grind of life can also take its toll on your teeth?
The human body interprets stressful situations as a threat and triggers the fight or flight response. Adrenaline and cortisol are released into the bloodstream, altering the mechanics of the body, increasing oxygen flow to muscles and blood sugar levels. Long-term stress activates this response constantly causing a variety of health issues such as hair loss, skin problems, mental health issues, heart disease and the clenching and grinding of teeth.
Grinding (also known as bruxism) is caused by stress and anxiety. Oftentimes people rarely notice that they grind or clench their teeth because it typically occurs during sleep. If you have a constant headache or a sore jaw after waking up you may be experiencing symptoms of grinding during sleep.
Over a long period of time clenching can be quite detrimental to your oral health. Teeth can become fractured or loose, get worn down to stumps, or eventually extracted. In extreme cases bruxism can change your jaw or even alter the look of your face!
So, how can I stop grinding my teeth?
Reducing stress in your life is one effective way to stop grinding, but the best method is to invest in a night guard, a protective covering for your teeth which can be worn during sleep (when grinding is most prevalent). There are many types of night guards to choose from, however, many night guards are ready-to-wear and may not fit your mouth properly. They also don’t necessarily prevent the clenching action which can cause harm to your jaw. Here at Smiles Unlimited Dentistry, P.C., we make impressions of your teeth from which a custom night guard is made to perfectly fit and protect your teeth. And although more expensive than a store-bought night guard, our customized night guards allow the jaw to slide instead of clamp, reducing the amount of stress in your mouth and keeping your jaw healthy. It also deprograms the muscles in your face to prevent clenching in the future.
The daily grind is hard enough on your body without taking it out on your teeth. Smiles Unlimited Dentistry, P.C. can help relieve pain and tooth damage from grinding!