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By Bohle Family Dentistry
May 28, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: stress   teeth grinding  
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Modern life can be demanding. The body helps us rise to the occasion through responses we collectively call stress.

But while stress can be a good thing, it can also overwhelm us and manifest in some harmful way: bouts of back pain, stomach ulcers or even acne. It could also trigger tooth grinding, often occurring as we sleep. And like other stress relievers, tooth grinding can be detrimental to your health long term.

Teeth-on-teeth contact occurs normally when we eat or speak, or simply as our jaws contact each other with glancing touches hundreds if not thousands of times a day. Such normal contact is beneficial because it stimulates healthy bone growth in the jaw. But if the forces created exceed the normal range as with tooth grinding (up to ten times), it can cause a bevy of problems to the teeth and jaws.

While excessive jaw motion during teeth grinding can cause inflammation and painful spasms in the muscles, the greater danger is to the teeth, which could even fracture from the high amount of force. The more common occurrence, though, is an increased rate of enamel erosion, which causes the tooth to lose vital structure and eventually appear shorter in appearance.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce teeth grinding or its severity. The first order of business is to treat its effects by reducing its symptoms and ongoing damage. We can recommend some behavior modification techniques to alter the frequency of the habit or a night guard to protect the teeth from the intensity of the habit if you’re unable to change the behavior.

A custom-fitted night or occlusal guard, a retainer-like dental appliance made of smooth acrylic plastic is designed so that the lower teeth glide over the guard surface when grinding and can’t make solid contact with the upper teeth. This reduces the generated force and helps protect the teeth.

In the long term, though, you should address the root cause — how you’re handling daily stress. Treatment by a psychotherapist or counselor, for example, could help you develop ways to channel stress in more productive ways.

However your treatment strategy develops, it’s important to address stress and teeth grinding as soon as possible. Controlling it will have long-term benefits for your teeth and smile.

If you would like more information on dealing with stress that causes tooth grinding, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress & Tooth Habits.”

By Dr. Charles Bohle
November 17, 2014
Category: Oral Health

Stress affects your oral health!

Whether you it be with work, school, or financially, stress is something that we know all too well. Too much stress can take a toll on many differentstress and oral healthparts of your body, but did you know that stress affects your oral health?

The potential impact on your oral health includes:

  • Eating a bad diet
  • Gum (periodontal) disease or worsening of existing periodontal disease
  • Bad habits such as chewing on pens, pencils, ice, or your nails
  • Not taking proper care of your teeth
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Mouth sores, such as canker or cold sores

Although your sources of stress may not be changed or prevented, you can prevent and treat these oral health problems if you know what to do.

Mouth Sores:

Canker sores are small ulcers with a white or grayish base bordered in red. Stress can increase your risk of getting them. If you get a canker stress and oral healthsore, it is important to begin treatment as soon as you notice the sore appearing and to avoid spicy and acidic foods that may cause irritation.

Teeth Grinding:

Stress can make you clench and grind your teeth– either during the day, at night, or subconsciously. Grinding your teeth can lead to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Your dentist may recommend you wear a night guard, worn in your sleep, or another device to minimize this action.

Poor Oral Hygiene:

Being under stress may affect your mood and cause you to skip brushing or flossing. If you don’t care for your teeth properly everyday, the risk of gum disease and cavities increases significantly. Also, stress can affect your diet. Most people tend to go for sweet and sodas, which can lead to tooth decay and other problems.

Gum Disease:

Even short term stress can mean more dental plaque. Long term stress can begin to cause bleeding gums and gingivitis which can lead to gum disease. Remember to keep a healthy diet, see your dentist regularly, and maintain good oral hygiene.

It is extremely important to visit your dentist regularly for routine checkups, especially if you are constantly under stress. Stress can increase the risk of oral health issues. Your dentist may be able to give you some helpful tips to prevent these issues before they become serious. Call Bohle Family Dentistry today at 270-442-0256 to schedule an appointmentor visit our website to learn more about our services and the importance of good oral hygiene.

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