Stress has a negative effect on every organ and every part of your body. Your teeth are absolutely no exception from this rule. Stress has such an effect that it causes particular kinds of symptoms, ones that we have classified and deal with separately. Here is some information about the effects of stress on your teeth.
Stress has a twofold way of working at your teeth. First of all, there is the conscious part of the equation; when you stress you clench and grind your teeth, and this I bad for your enamel, your temporo-mandibular joint, and is likely to cause other symptoms as well, like head and neck ache, popping in the ears, and even a sense of dizziness. But did you know that your stressful seizing continues after you are no longer conscious? When you clench and grind your teeth in your sleep, it is known as bruxism, and it is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. Because patients grind their teeth (sometimes all night long) habitually, they experience more wear and tear, more cracks and fissures in the tooth enamel, more TMJ pain, and more damage to the teeth.
What is the temporo-mandibular joint, or TMJ? If you put your finger to just in front of your ear near your cheek and clench your teeth, you will feel the workings of your TMJ. This joint is responsible for moving your mandible, or lower jaw. When you clench this joint too much, or use it more than you should then you will experience pain in the jaw, and can also experience headache, neck pains, ear pains, popping of the ears and other symptoms. This joint can seize up and cause lockjaw.
When you clench your teeth, whether in your sleep or when you are conscious, your teeth will feel the effects. Although teeth are meant to chew, the extra wear and tear does not do them any favours. The enamel can crack and the tooth can thus become sensitive, and much more prone to decay. The teeth also get worn down, and become smaller and stubbier as time goes on. This can lead to toothache and to bleeding gums, too.
Usually doctors will prescribe a tooth guard to patients who suffer from bruxism. This is only a remedy for those who grind in their sleep, but not to daily stressful tooth grinding. For these people the best thing to do is to relax and try to meditate and calm yourself instead of clenching up. Aside from this it is also a good idea to take some precautions; use fluoride gels and pastes to replenish the cracked and worn enamel, drink plenty of milk and possibly take a calcium supplement.