Stress is challenging for everyone. While it’s known that stress negatively affects your mood, it is also the leading cause of tooth grinding. Grinding teeth, or “bruxism,” is something that 10-15% of adult Americans experience. While not everyone who grinds their teeth may associate themselves as being stressed, this subconscious habit can eventually lead to grinders experiencing a tooth fracture or increased muscle soreness despite the official title of “being stressed.”
Some things that people do to reduce teeth grinding:
- Use a night guard for night-time prevention. A night guard creates a buffered cushion between your upper and lower teeth that absorbs some of the pressure and ultimately reduces the wear on your teeth. Talk to your dentist about getting fitted for a custom night guard or purchase one over-the-counter to see how it works for you.
- Adopt stress-reducing activities, such as yoga, exercise, acupuncture, medical massage, and meditation which help lower anyone’s stress level. Do calming things prior to bed, such stretching, reading, and drinking calming tea. Avoid stressful and stimulating things such as watching the news or spending time on social media.
- While by no means the first choice due to side effects, there are medications that have been clinically shown to reduce grinding of your teeth.
If you already have ground your teeth down, talk to your dentist to decide on what are your best options. These may include the above plus rebuilding your teeth with crowns or veneers. If you feel you may be grinding your teeth, ask your dentist what options might be best in your case. Further, go ahead and strive to incorporate stress relieving activities in your life. This will undoubtably have benefits well beyond preserving teeth.