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The Impact Of Stress On Your Teeth

Stressed woman holding her hair

Chronic stress has a way of reshaping our entire world. We tend to get tunnel vision and end up obsessing over the cause of our stress as well as potential ways to deal with it. The problem is that stress often means we never have the energy to deal with the problem and things continue to escalate. Health and mental problems begin to pile up as we let the stress go unanswered. Our body and mind begin suffering as the people around us can only watch and hope intervention helps. Most of us are acquainted with the idea that stress can cause weight gain, depression, heart disease, and other problems. They turn up in every list of the effects of stress. By contrast, we tend to skip over the parts of how stress can negatively impact our teeth. That’s an important thing to note if you’re dealing with a lot of stress right now or just now coming down from a stressful part of your life. A quick look at the effects you might experience should help you narrow down any problems that need addressing.

Forgetting Good Habits
One of the most immediate threats to your teeth is that stress often pushes us to neglect everything in favor of trying to reach a solution to the problem or obsessing over the problem. This isn’t a good thing. It takes away the careful structure of positive habits that most of us have built up in our lives to take care of ourselves. Dental hygiene is something that commonly ends up suffering because it feels incidental or because we just don’t have the energy to get to it each day. We stop brushing, flossing, and rinsing in favor of trying to get a little more sleep to deal with the stress more effectively. Chronic forgetfulness leads to dental issues beginning to pile up as we fail to properly care for our teeth. None of these results are pleasant, but they’re easy to deal with by posting a reminder to yourself to try to at least remember to brush your teeth even when you’re overly stressed.

Grinding Teeth
There are few universal results of stress, but some do tend to turn up more often than the rest. A lot of people can end up subconsciously grinding their teeth when they become overly stressed. Grinding one’s teeth is an incredibly bad thing for the health of anyone’s teeth. It wears away the protective enamel that helps prevent more issues from becoming a problem while also reducing the ability of your teeth to actually do their job by flattening them out. All of this leads to weaker, more sensitive teeth that tend to be far more prone to damage and disease. What makes teeth grinding particularly insidious is that it is often entirely missed by the people doing it. They can even end up grinding their teeth while sleeping soundly and never know about it until a dentist or dental assistant takes note of it during an examination. None of that bodes well for the oral health of anyone suffering from chronic stress.

Jaw Clenching
This issues is typically associated with the grinding of teeth as it is required for it, but jaw clenching can exist without direct grinding as well. The unconscious clenching of the jaw can end up clicking the teeth together and creating some of the same effects as grinding, but it tends to also figure heavily into muscle soreness for the area. Soreness and tightness of the jaw muscles begins to make it difficult to eat comfortably as well as making it hurt to interact with it as well. This disincentive for proper care and attention in turn leads to a situation that just magnifies the rest of the potential problems associated with stress and oral health. The particular downside is that it can be difficult to deal with the muscle tension from jaw clenching as those muscles can be somewhat problematic to properly massage and relax. Some topical products can help, but you may want to consult a doctor or dentist to help ease the issue.

Stress can have a pronounced effect on your teeth if you’re not careful. It creates a situation where it is difficult for us to focus our attention on self-care enough to go through the proper steps to care for our teeth. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that it also leads to direct damage to the teeth through jaw clenching and tooth grinding. No part of you benefits from chronic stress. This is an important realization to keep in mind the next time that life starts feeling overwhelming.

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