We all get nervous or anxious from time to time. It is very common for people to engage in a certain habit when they feel stressed. This could range from rapidly tapping your foot on the floor while you are waiting for a job interview to twirling a piece of your hair while taking a test. However, there are a number of stress-induced habits that involve our mouths – many of which can wreak havoc on your teeth over a prolonged period of time. When you feel nervous, do you tend to participate in the following?
• Ice Chomping
• Teeth Grinding or Clenching
• Pencil/Pen Chewing
• Nail Biting
In an article titled “Oral Habits: Why They Exist and How to Eliminate Them,” Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, M.S., CCC-SLP comments that “environmental or external stress is normal and processed differently in each person. Some feel tension in their shoulders, stomachs, or get frequent headaches; while others may exhibit tension in the oral musculature and TMJ.” Research confirms that certain individuals rely on oral habits during times of stress or anxiety, which be a nearly subconscious action. Unfortunately, these habits can greatly threaten your dental health, especially if they begin at a young age.
The above-mentioned habits can damage the enamel layer of your teeth or cause your teeth to wear down. This can expose your teeth to decay, sensitivity and other problems. In addition, it can change the way your teeth fit together, which disrupts your bite and puts more strain on the TMJ. Grinding and clenching are known for producing painful and disruptive problems such as jaw pain and tension headaches.
If you believe your stress response habit is causing harm to your smile, please come see us at Gilreath Family Dentistry. We offer a number of treatments to restore your teeth from bad dental habits. First and foremost, try to seek other ways to calm your nerves.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,