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How Stress Damages Your Teeth

August 6, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Anthony Giamberardino @ 7:15 pm

woman with jaw pain

What do insomnia, mindless eating, and binge drinking have in common? They’re bad habits that can develop as we become more stressed. We all know these activities are not great for our overall health. However, there’s another stress-induced habit that your dentist in Medford is concerned about. Read on to learn all about it, and how you can stop it by reducing stress.

What’s the Biggest Way That Stress Affects Your Teeth?

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, isn’t always triggered by stress, but it’s a common enough habit that dentists have started to become concerned. In fact, most people who grind or clench their teeth don’t even know they’re doing it because it happens while they’re asleep. Usually it’s discovered at a routine dental checkup, or from a bed partner hearing a strange grinding noise coming from the other side of the bed during the night. It’s important to get this habit checked out as soon as possible, because grinding for too long can seriously damage your teeth.

How Do You Know If You Grind Your Teeth?

Visit your dentist if any of these symptoms describe you, so he or she can determine if you have bruxism:

  • Teeth that are flattened, chipped, or loose
  • Soreness or pain in your face, teeth, jaw, or neck
  • Partner reports grinding noise from you at night
  • Waking up with a dull headache
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles or locked jaw that won’t open or close completely

How Can You Reduce Stress?

The best way to treat teeth grinding is to see your dentist, who can prescribe a nightguard. This is a special tray that is worn over your teeth at night to prevent them from touching and wearing down your enamel. However, in addition to wearing a nightguard, it’s important to try and stop stress at the source. Here are some activities that can lower your stress levels:

  • Journaling before bed
  • Avoiding caffeine for several hours before bed
  • Getting plenty of exercise
  • See a therapist
  • Talk to your friends or family about what stresses you
  • Take supplements such as green tea or omega-3 fatty acids
  • Take a yoga or stress management class

Stress may be common, but that doesn’t mean it has to be ignored. Follow the steps listed above to reduce damage to not only your teeth, but to the rest of your body as well.

About the Author

Dr. Anthony Giamberardino achieved his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 1985 from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He opened his private practice in Medford, MA in 1993, where he provides nightguards to treat bruxism. If you think you may be grinding or clenching your teeth, contact Dr. Giamberardino at (781)-396-3800.

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