It’s important to address the issue as soon as possible to protect your oral health now and in the future. Keep reading to learn about the relationship between stress and tooth grinding and how you can work with your dentist to resolve the issue.
“I was recently featured on Spectrum News 1 to talk about the effects stress and the pandemic have had on my patients’ teeth.
Here at Austin Dental, we’re seeing more TMJ pain, more cracked teeth, more chronic headaches, and a variety of other issues, too. But we can help!”
Hoppy Lane, D.D.S.
Tooth grinding is becoming more common
Over the past 2 years, we at Austin Dental – along with other dentists around the country – are seeing more and more patients suffering from tooth grinding, jaw clenching, and chipped/cracked teeth.
Here are some of the surprising statistics we’ve seen over the last two years:
- There has been a 71% increase in bruxism (tooth grinding).
- We’ve seen a 63% increase in chipped and cracked teeth.
- There has been a 52% increase in instances of TMJ pain and soreness.
What’s behind it?
So what’s causing the recent increase in tooth grinding and jaw clenching? Well, we can’t ignore the higher rates of stress and other mental health issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Surveys show a significant increase in the number of Americans reporting symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia during the pandemic.
High levels of stress and negative emotion often manifest physical symptoms. Believe it or not, your dentist may be the first provider to notice!
Dental health & stress
Clenching your jaw muscles and grinding your teeth together may be subconscious reactions to stress and anxiety. You may not be aware you’re doing it – or it may even be happening while you’re asleep.
Over time, tooth grinding and jaw clenching can have a major impact on your oral and overall health. It can lead to:
- Chipped and cracked teeth
- Headaches and jaw pain
- Worn enamel (which makes your teeth more susceptible to decay)
Night guards for preventing grinding & clenching
Resolving stress and anxiety at their source is key to improving your overall physical wellbeing and improving dental health issues like tooth grinding. However, it’s also important to address tooth grinding directly.
Custom dental night guards can prevent tooth grinding and the associated symptoms like headaches, pain, and cracked teeth. We don’t recommend “boil and bite” mouthguards like those you can buy in the drugstore. That’s because they’re made from soft plastic, which can actually encourage more chewing, grinding, and clenching and worsen the problem.
How Austin Dental can help you achieve a healthy smile
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many of us to struggle with stress, discomfort, and new health concerns. Let us help you through this challenging time.
If you’re experiencing jaw pain or headaches, or if you feel worried about the impact stress is having on your teeth, you’re not alone. Our expert dentists can examine you to evaluate the overall health of your teeth, give you professional guidance, and create an effective custom mouthguard just for you.
At Austin Dental, we want to show you exactly how good your dentist can be. Schedule your appointment today and improve your oral health tomorrow.