817-361-1999

stress affects teeth

Stress affects your teeth. If you are dealing with stress and clenching or grinding their teeth, call Brit Phillips DDS Fort Worth (817) 361-1999. Solutions like mouth guards worn at night can help protect your teeth from grinding!

Stress affects everyone. Some people may have disrupted sleep patterns. Others may be regular users of tobacco, alcohol or narcotics.

Side effects from stress have a way of going unnoticed by most–except the dentist. For example, patients who are stressed out may consciously or subconsciously deal with stress by tightly clenching their teeth during the day and grinding them at night, a condition known as bruxism.

Over time, bruxism can wear down teeth and create orthodontic problems or changes in a person’s actual bite. Grinding can cause problems with the joint that connects your jaw to your head, just below your ears, the temporomandibular joint (also known as TMJ). Eventually, this leads to “clicking” when the jaw moves, which can really drive a person nuts. TMJ problems caused by grinding also result in discomfort on the sides of the face, difficulties chewing food and even headaches.

Stress can affect your teeth in other ways, too. People who are under stress might let their regular dental hygiene practices go by the wayside. They may be too stressed to remember to brush and floss regularly. This can lead to increased cavities and gum disease, especially if you turn to sugar-laden foods or drinks when anxious.

When stressed, we may have increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol or depressed immune functioning. Studies have shown that stress causes increased dental plaque, even if it’s short-term stress.

You can, however, take some steps in these situations to help keep your teeth healthy. Figure out some strategies to help deal with the sources of stress.  See your dentist for an examination. To address TMJ issues, Dr. Brit Phillips Fort Worth dentist can provide mouth guards to be worn at night, which should prevent you from grinding your teeth.