The result of coping with stress is very commonly grinding your teeth or clenching your jaws. This is called bruxism, and often occurs as you sleep.
Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. A study in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association suggests that teeth grinding is also associated with alcohol and tobacco use.
In a September 2020 report, the ADA Health Policy Institute found that more than half of dentists surveyed saw an increase of patients with dental conditions often associated with stress: Teeth grinding and clenching, chipped and cracked teeth, and symptoms of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder such as jaw pain and headaches.
The symptoms of teeth grinding include:
- dull headaches
- jaw soreness
- teeth that are painful or loose
- fractured teeth
Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth and Temporomandibular Joint from bruxism during sleep. If stress is the cause you may need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.
Teeth grinding is also common in children. However, because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly it is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence.
Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children. Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children include:
- irritation in the mouth
- misaligned teeth
If you have any questions about Bruxism or Teeth Grinding, give us a call. We will be glad to help.
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Thank you for choosing us to be your dental health care providers in Pawtucket. Following a good oral hygiene routine and receiving regular dental check ups are ways to keep your healthy smile.