Teeth Grinding—Stress’ Effect on Your Dental Health

man clenching his teethAside from taxing your body and increasing your risk of certain systemic diseases (i.e., heart disease, stroke, etc.), stress can also take a serious toll on your dental health. Teeth grinding is a common result of stress, and bruxism (the habit of grinding your teeth) can lead to excessive tooth wear or chipped/broken teeth, throwing your bite out of balance as the landscape of your teeth changes.  To help you limit stressful damage to your teeth and gums, as well as improve your overall health, Miller, IN dentist, Dr. Nicholas Cain, offers advice for reducing excessive stress levels.

Relieve Stress, Protect Teeth

  • Exercise—You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to enjoy the stress-relieving benefits of exercise. In fact, any physical activity can achieve this goal. The point is to get your body moving, so that your mind can focus more on the movements than on the irritations that cause stress. Exercise also promotes the release of your brain’s feel-good chemicals, like endorphins, to further help melt away stress.
  • Meditate—Your mind is a powerful thing, and thinking about the source of your stress will not allow you to let it go. Try meditating to refocus your attention and eliminating unwanted thoughts. Meditation can help you redirect your train of thoughts while bringing calm, peace, and balance to your mind.
  • Go to Sleep—Sleep deprivation is a common cause of moodiness and agitation. It is also a side effect of stress, as you may often find it difficult to fall asleep while contemplating stressful subjects. If you have difficulty falling asleep at night, try to create a bedtime routine, such as a warm bath and reading a book in low light. The routine will serve to tell your body that it’s time to sleep, and will help your mind and body make the transition smoother.
  • Smile—Even when you have to force it, studies have shown that smiling can help improve your mood as well as lift the spirits of those around you. Try smiling when you feel like grinding your teeth, and see the difference it creates for your demeanor and your oral health.

About Nicholas Cain, DDS:

Dr. Nicholas Cain has been fascinated with the art and science of dentistry since an early age after long talks with his uncle, who was a practicing dentist in Tennessee. After earning his dental degree from the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Dr. Cain served at his family’s practice in Tennessee, learning from his childhood mentors and further honing his skills. Recently, Dr. Cain returned to his native northwest Indiana to open his own practice, and continues to provide excellent cosmetic, preventive, and restorative dentistry to the community that raised him. To schedule your family’s next dental appointment, call Healthy Smiles today at 219-938-2637.