Teeth Grinding and Anxiety – How Stress Can Ruin Your Teeth
Has your spouse reported disturbing grinding noises coming from your side of the bed? If so, you may suffer from bruxism, which is another name for teeth grinding. The condition is often associated with chronic stress or anxiety. Teeth grinding behaviors may occur during your sleep or when you are awake, and you may not be aware of them. Over time, the pressure placed on your jaws and teeth can lead to destruction of tooth enamel, sensitivity to hot and cold foods, tooth decay, and even painful joint problems such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
5 Symptoms of Bruxism
You may not know you’re grinding your teeth until your dentist notices signs of wear and tear on your tooth enamel. People who are most at risk for teeth grinding include those who are worried, nervous, aggressive, competitive, angry, or frustrated. It commonly accompanies sleep apnea, snoring, or other sleep disorders. Tooth grinding and clenching leads to a variety of symptoms such as:
- Jaw pain
- Headache or neck pain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Earache or a feeling of fullness in ears
The Effects of Stress on Tooth Grinding and Sleep
Stressful events can cause or intensify symptoms of teeth grinding. In fact, bruxism may first begin after a trauma such as a car accident or sudden loss. It’s easy to understand why clenching your jaw or teeth is a natural reaction to stress; a nerve in your jaw leads directly to the part of your brain that controls the fight-or-flight response. Anxiety and tooth grinding can become a vicious cycle. Nighttime teeth grinding frequently awakens your brain from deep sleep, and the lack of proper sleep exacerbates anxiety problems. Increased anxiety leads to more tooth grinding. Treatments such as medications, therapy, and dental devices like mouth guards are available to improve symptoms of TMJ syndrome and protect your teeth. Consult your dentist in Allentown for advice.
To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Allentown, call Gentle Dental of Allentown today at (610) 616-3593 or make an appointment.
Gentle Dental offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Allentown. With 14 affiliated practices in the Greater Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of Allentown, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of Allentown.