The link between oral health and stress – Jonathan Lever

We live in very demanding times, and more and more people are being diagnosed with stress, with recent figures suggesting it affects up to 10% of the population.

The fact that it’s still remarkably cold outside, events like Storm Doris have happened, we’re in politically uncertain times and many people are still financially recovering from Christmas/New Year make it understandable why so many suffer stress. Whilst there is a general awareness of the majority of symptoms of stress many people do not realise the oral health implications.

In fact, there are a high number of people I see who don’t realise the extent of their teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism). Headaches can be an immediate side effect of this grinding while permanent tooth damage can be a long term one. The majority of sufferers are aged between mid-twenties to mid-forties.

Although bruxism may be the most common stress-related complaint, others include;

Mouth sores and cold sores Poor oral hygiene/unhealthy eating routines Periodontal disease Prolonged grinding can lead to TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) problems

What can you do?

If you are clenching or grinding we may recommend the use of a night guard which you pop in while you sleep and which will help to minimise the effects of the grinding. Underlying stress or anxiety may be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy.

If you are concerned that you have stress-related bruxism, visit us for a dental health check which will include an inspection of your mouth and jaw.

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