What’s The Role For Dentists In Managing Sleep Problems?

managing sleep problemsIf you have trouble sleeping, you may not know that your dentist can help.  Dentists actually play a big role in managing sleep problems. This is because there are a number of elements that link your mouth and teeth to your sleep.

One commonly occurring problem is Bruxism. This is the grinding of the teeth or clenching the jaw.  This sometimes occurs with people while they sleep and they don’t even know it.  It can cause pain and damage to the teeth and even change the shape of the jaws and alignment of teeth.

Dentists can also predict the risk of sleep apnea and snoring. This is why your dentist may ask you if you snore.

Dental appliances are an effective way for treating all of these issues. There are certain devices that hold the mandible forward during sleep so the airway stays open.  These devices reduce snoring and help with sleep apnea.

If you think you have bruxism or sleep apnea you should talk to your dentist. Dentists working in the area of dental sleep medicine usually have a good working relationship with local sleep physicians. Check out the article from the Huffington Post here to see videos about these issues as well.

Can Your Dentist Help You Sleep?|Huffington Post

Bruxism Caused By Social Anxiety

bruxismSome recent studies have shown that bruxism, teeth grinding, can be caused by anxiety experienced in social circumstances. Bruxism can cause tooth wear and even fractures in teeth as well as jaw pain.

Some people may be prone to biting their nails when faced with uncomfortable circumstances or in social situations that are out of their comfort zones. It is now found that many people suffer from teeth grinding in these same situations.  The research studied men and women who had suffered from social phobia.  Some were on medications to help with these disorders. Some were not.  And some did not suffer from social phobia.  The subjects underwent psychiatric and dental exams.

See the outcome of the research here: Nail biters, beware: Teeth grinding is next – Medical News Today.

Social Anxiety Increases Risk Of Teeth Grinding

social anxietyIf you find that you are anxious in social situations, you may also like to know that it could be the reason behind why you grind your teeth. People with social anxiety disorder feel extreme discomfort and fear around others.

Bruxism, the habit of grinding and clenching teeth, may be linked to antidepressants prescribed to people who suffer from social anxiety. Read about this research from Tel Aviv university here: Social Anxiety Increases Risk Of Teeth Grinding, Possibly Leading To Fractures.

Stress Can Damage Your Mouth

stressStress can lead to damage in your body.  Stress in the mouth can cause damage to your teeth, gums and other parts of your mouth.  If you are overly stressed here are some of the issues you may notice in your mouth and how you can treat them.

Develop sores in the mouth – You might get canker sores, which are small white ulcers.  They are often a reaction to low immunity, virus or bacteria, stress, allergies or exhaustion.  If you have a canker sore, stay away from spicy and acidic food as this can irritate it more.

Gum disease – Stress or depression can cause gum disease because of large deposits of dental plaque.  To prevent gum disease, brush twice a day and rinse with an antibacterial rinse. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly.

Bruxism – Clenching and grinding your teeth subconsciously is known as bruxism. It is very often caused by stress.  It can lead to a condition called TMJ disorder.  If you have noticed that you grind your teeth, be sure to talk to your dentist. They can treat it with a mouth guard that you wear at night to avoid grinding.

Poor oral habits – If you are stressed, you may not being paying as much attention to your daily hygiene habits. If your mouth is neglected too long, you can get cavities or gum disease. Eat healthy foods and exercise to help with your oral hygiene and stress levels.

Watch It! Stress Can Damage Your Mouth Functioning|Dentist Find

Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

can stress affect oral healthYou have heard that stress is bad for the health of your mind and body, but can stress affect oral health? When you know how stress can affect your teeth, you can then take the steps to protect your oral health.

Stress and anxiety can lead to bruxism, the habit of grinding teeth. This habit can cause permanent damage to your teeth and it can wear down the enamel.  It also results in pressure on the supportive tissues of your teeth and can lead to bone loss.

Stress can contribute to poor eating habits. When you are stressed and anxious you are more likely to eat foods that are sugary and unhealthy.  These foods can increase the risk of tooth decay.

Stress can contribute to poor oral health habits.  When you are stressed, daily care of your teeth and gums by not be a top priority.  If you neglect brushing and flossing, you are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

Stress has a negative effect on your hormones. One way this harms your teeth is that it reduces the production of saliva.  Saliva is necessary to keep teeth healthy. Another way that hormones affect your teeth is by decreasing your body’s immunity to infection.

Stress can cause canker sores. Although there are a number of reasons for canker sores, the issue originates in your immune system which can be lowered by too much stress.

Stress affects your body’s ability to heal. If you have a dental procedure done, it may not be as effective if you have a large amount of stress. You may also be more prone to infection or other complications after a dental procedure.

Stress interferes with routine dental visits. If you are overly stressed, you are probably not thinking about visiting the dentist.  You may even miss scheduled appointments and are less likely to make routine cleanings and exams a priority.

We all experience some amount of stress.  If you feel like your stress is too high, there are some ways you can try to reduce it.  Things like short walks or runs, reading a book, relaxing music or taking a vacation are all things that can help.  If you need to, visit your doctor to get some help.

7 Ways Stress Can Affect Oral Health|Dental Town