Can Stress Actually Cause Your Teeth to Crack?
If you’ve been more stressed out during the pandemic, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, more than twice as many Canadians have felt regularly or constantly stressed during the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s a look at how this can affect your teeth and steps to prevent damage.
Effects of Stress on your Teeth
Stress, anxiety and tension are the leading causes of bruxism, a condition in which a person grinds or clenches their jaw and teeth. This can occur when the individual is awake or during sleep, and the continual pressure can wear down enamel and cause teeth to crack.
Many dentists have reported an increase in patients with tooth fractures in the months since the start of the pandemic.
Common Signs of a Cracked Tooth
Contact your dentist right away if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Pain or discomfort when chewing, especially when you relax your bite
- Sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet foods in one area of your mouth
- Erratic pain that comes and goes (rather than being constant)
- Sensitive or swollen gums around the affected tooth
If left untreated, a crack can expand and cause a part of your tooth to break off. You’ll also be more at risk for gum infections and abscesses.
How to Avoid Grinding and Clenching your Teeth
It’s common to be unaware that you clench or grind your teeth, even when you’re awake. Keep in mind that there should always be space between your upper and lower teeth, so if you notice them touching during the day, make a point to relax your jaw. Here are a few other tips to help prevent bruxism.
- Set up an ergonomic workstation. Poor posture can lead to teeth grinding at night. Be sure to sit up straight, place your computer at eye level and incorporate standing and movement into your day.
- Take up relaxing activities. Yoga, stretching and meditation relax your muscles and help relieve stress. To ease muscle tension before bed, take a warm bath with Epsom salt and practice deep breathing.
- Wear a mouthguard at night. This appliance creates a barrier between your teeth that absorbs the pressure of clenching and protects your teeth from grinding. Check with your dentist to make sure your mouthguard fits properly.
- Maintain good oral hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing will keep your teeth strong and healthy. Additionally, regular dental exams allow your dentist to look for signs of bruxism before it severely damages your teeth.
Visit your Family Dentist in SE Calgary for Your Next Checkup or Cleaning
If you’re concerned about the effects that stress is having on your oral health, the team at Forest Lawn Dental Centre can help. We also provide root canals, fillings and crowns to repair cracked teeth. Contact us today to book an appointment at our SE Calgary clinic.