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Are You Stressed?

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

"Dear stress, let's break up."

Stressed? Pressure can cause various side effects in our bodies and when people are overwhelmed they are more likely to clench and grind their teeth. I find that I clench my teeth while driving on the highway. If I do not consciously think about it while driving, my jaw will feel very uncomfortable after a long trip in the car.

Symptoms of Bruxism

Teeth grinding (Bruxism) can be caused by stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. The symptoms of teeth grinding or clenching include:

  • Dull headaches

  • Jaw soreness

  • Teeth that are painful or loose

  • Fractured teeth

For adults, bruxism is often the result of stress, but the is not always true with children. Other possible causes of grinding in children include:

  • Irritation in the mouth

  • Allergies

  • Misaligned teeth

Make a Conscience Effort

It's important to address any nervous habits during the day. I talk with patients about thinking about where their teeth. Your teeth should only touch if you are chewing or talking. At rest, the teeth should not be touching.

Here is a helpful tip! Many of us are phone or clock watchers, so every time you look at your phone or check the time, think about where your teeth are. Sometimes when doing this, patients identify their bruxism tendencies and begin to break the habit (Every time I look at the speedometer when I am driving on the highway, I think about where my teeth are and make sure I am not clenching). This can significantly decrease the stress on the jaw muscles and help prevent wear on the teeth. If you experience night clenching or grinding we recommend a nightguard to protect the teeth while you sleep.

If you are suffering from clenching or grinding, please call our Westerville location at 614-882-2249. The staff and I would be more than willing to help improve your quality of sleep and smile. :)

Heidi Stauffer, DDS


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