Stress Can Affect More Than Your Mood, It Can Also Damage Your Teeth

Grinding teeth and clenching of jaws, which can cause serious dental damage is on the rise.

ST. LOUIS – Recent information from the American Psychological Association states stress among adults has increased and can present serious health issues. Those facing money issues or family problems are at an even greater risk. Other studies conclude stress among college-age students, especially students in their first year, is also increasing. In fact, some clinicians are calling it a crisis. One serious side effect of this increase in stress, according to Dr. Holly Ellis, DDS is a greater number of people grinding their teeth or clenching their jaws. And this can cause some major long-term dental issues.

Wallethub recently placed St. Louis as the 15th most stressed city in the U.S.*

“Most people notice things such as sleep deprivation or poorer eating habits when it comes to stress,” Dr. Ellis of Ellis Dental said. “But teeth grinding and jaw clenching is also a tell-tale sign. We’ve seen an increase in adults and students during the past few years who need solutions for teeth grinding and jaw clenching. If these are not corrected, they can lead to life-long damage and cause many other health-related issues.”

Ellis continued, “It doesn't take long for damage to occur if you grind your teeth. It's important to see your dentist even if you think you’re grinding your teeth. It can lead to fracturing of teeth, loss of the enamel that protects your teeth, loss of teeth, wearing teeth down to stumps, and affect your jaw. Clenching your jaw can lead to joint disorders and, left untreated, could change the appearance of your face.”

Most teeth grinding takes place during sleep so is hard to determine, but if you suspect you are, make an appointment with your dentist so they can examine you to find out. Possible signs include frequent headaches, facial pain or a sore jaw.

“These are quite serious issues,” Ellis said. “We have a series of questions we ask our patients and do a painless exam to determine what, if anything, is required. The most common solution is to prescribe a night guard. And while over the counter night guards exist, they tend to be bulky, uncomfortable and poorly constructed. The best way to protect yourself and your teeth from permanent, long-lasting damage is a custom made night guard.

“I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to see a dentist as soon as possible if you even think you're grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.”

*Wallethub's article refers to a 2014 study put out by the APA that mentions stress is down. Our research found the APA information from 2015 that says there was a slight increase.

About Ellis Dental

Founded in 2009 by Dr. Holly Ellis, Ellis Dental is a state-of-the-art dental practice dedicated to providing more than 1,900 patients with comprehensive dental care that not only focuses on attaining their optimal oral health, but also incorporates their overall well being. Ellis Dental serves patients of all ages, customizing all dental care to each individual patients’ needs. Ellis Dental is committed to using only the highest quality dental materials, operating best-in-class equipment and incorporating leading-edge techniques into every patient’s visit to ensure the best possible outcomes. The practice is located at 10296 Big Bend Boulevard, 63122. More information is available at: and Facebook.

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