Do you struggle with anxiety? While everyone experiences stress from time to time, those with anxiety disorders or phobias deal with these uncomfortable — and sometimes debilitating — feelings on a regular basis. Anxiety can raise your blood pressure and cause various health issues, including dental problems. Read on to find out how anxiety can cause dental issues and what you can do about it.
If you have a strong fear of the dentist, you may have a dental phobia. Does the thought of going to the dentist make you feel physically ill, or do you experience heart palpitations, sweating, and shortness of breath either in the chair or while in the waiting room?
Some people who have dental phobia cope with it by avoiding the dentist. Unfortunately, this can lead to gum disease, dental decay, and other dental problems that don’t get addressed. Talk to your dentist about your phobia; there are solutions that can help! For example, listen to music to help distract you from your worries. In severe cases, medication might be needed.
Grinding Your Teeth
If you have generalize anxiety or just a lot of stress, you might clench and grind your teeth. This habit is called bruxism, and it can cause headaches, jaw pain, and worn enamel. You could break fillings or even break teeth.
Reducing your stress can help; so can a nightguard fabricated by your dentist, which you’ll wear overnight to help prevent grinding in your sleep.
Too Overwhelmed to Stick to Routines
If you are dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety, you might find it difficult to stick to your regular routines. If you’re falling into bed at the end of the day because you are exhausted, you might not be brushing and flossing before you sleep. This can lead to poor dental health.
If you are so busy and stressed that you are relying on drive-through meals or junk food, you can be negatively impacting your teeth (and your overall health) in this way, too.
Some relaxation methods like taking up yoga, exercising each day, guided imagery, or seeking counseling can help.
If your anxiety is getting the best of you, talk to your doctor about ways that you can feel better. There’s no need to suffer from anxiety; it’s a treatable condition and your health, including your dental health, can be improved by taking that step.