Are you Swallowing Your Stress?
The COVID-19 pandemic made many things painfully clear, including the link between sensitive teeth and stress. Stress is at the root of several things that can lead to sensitive teeth, among other dental issues. Some of the biggest ways stress shows are changes in diet, grinding and clenching, and preventative maintenance.
The Link Between Stress and Sensitive Teeth: Diet Choices
We all know that diet is related to both enamel erosion and stress response. People who are coping with stress of many kinds often start to make less healthy diet choices like sugary soda, acidic coffee, alcohol, candy, and high-sugar carbs. These foods and beverages can be highly acidic and/or sweet, which we know contributes greatly to enamel erosion. Enamel erosion is a big contributing factor to sensitive teeth.
Stress and Sensitive Teeth: Clenching and Grinding
Clenching and grinding teeth are very common physical responses to stress.
According to a July 12, 2021 ABC News report:
“There are a few risk factors that are associated with increased rates of bruxism [grinding teeth], including anxiety, highly stressful life circumstances and heavy alcohol use — all things that have increased across the population this year.”
Clenching and grinding teeth, like an unhealthy diet, wears down the enamel that is protecting them, which often leads to sensitivity. Grinding also can have the effect of moving your teeth within your mouth, which contributes to stress and sensitive teeth.
An American Dental Association (ADA) study released in March of 2021 confirms the prevalence of the problem:
“More than 70 percent of dentists surveyed by the American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute are seeing an increase of patients experiencing teeth grinding and clenching, conditions often associated with stress.”
Preventative Maintenance, Stress and Sensitive Teeth
Stress can also contribute to issues with preventative maintenance, like losing track of your dental hygiene routine, avoiding regular cleanings, or letting cavities or gum problems go unchecked. The less care you take of your teeth, the more likely you are to have problems like sensitive teeth or worse.
Most of our patients have remained diligent, and we see it during their checkups. Whether that’s you or not, we’d love to see you if you’re experiencing sensitivity. We hope you know you can contact us anytime with your questions and concerns. We’d be happy to discuss them with you on the phone or at your next appointment.
To schedule your visit now, complete our contact form, or call our office at (708) 448-7588.
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