Two Ways Anxiety Can Cause Tooth Loss

17 October 2018
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Tooth loss is typically rooted in physical causes, such as cavities or blunt force trauma. However, a person's mental state can also result in damaged or missing teeth due to certain behaviors that the individual may engage in to manage his or condition. Anxiety, in particular, is really hard on teeth. Here are two ways this disorder can cause you to lose one or more of them.

The Source of Teeth Grinding

Anxiety is characterized as being in a state of continual nervousness, fear, tension, or apprehension. While being anxious every once in a while isn't harmful and may actually help you perform better in life, chronic anxiety is devastating to the body and linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders.

Still, the last place people expect the consequences of chronic anxiety to show up is in their mouths, but it does in the form of teeth grinding. Also called bruxism, teeth grinding is defined by the clenching or gnashing of the teeth. It mostly occurs during sleep, but people do it when they're awake too, albeit unconsciously.

As you can imagine, this constant grinding can wear down teeth, cause them to crack and eventually break. Bacteria may find its way into tiny fissures opened by the grinding, which can lead to the development of cavities and periodontal disease.

Luckily, tooth grinding can be successfully treated in a number of ways. The first line of treatment, though, typically involves the use of a mouth guard to help reduce damage to the teeth caused by the grinding. Thus, if you suspect you have this issue, contact your dentist right away to discuss the solutions available for addressing it.

Unhealthy Oral Care Habits

Another way anxiety can result in tooth loss is by causing people to engage in behaviors that damage them. With some mental health disorders, people will forgo oral hygiene, resulting in their teeth literally rotting in their mouths. With anxiety, though, it's not unusual for people to go in the opposite direction and go overboard with their tooth care. They may brush too often, floss too hard, or try home remedies that may actually damage teeth in an effort to alleviate their anxiety by pursuing an unrealistic standard of tooth cleanliness. These excessive efforts can result in damage to the tooth enamel or gum erosion, both of which contribute to tooth decay and loss.

This can be a challenging problem to treat. However, addressing the underlying anxiety driving the behavior can decrease the impulse to be overly hygienic. In this instance, it may be best to consult with your healthcare provider about medications and other treatments that may be helpful for reducing feelings of anxiety.

To fix damage to your teeth caused by your mental health disorder, contact a dentist. They will know how best to help you, whether it is by providing you with a mouth guard or providing cosmetic dentistry services.