Anxiety causes a lot of physical problems. While it's characterized as a mental health disorder, there are so many physical symptoms that it is almost feels like a physical disorder, and in some cases (like with panic attacks), it can actually have physical symptoms that make people feel as though they have a serious disease.
Teeth problems may not seem like they're related to anxiety, but they can be, and in many cases these teeth problems remain completely unknown until they are seen by a dentist.
Is Anxiety Affecting Your Teeth?
Teeth problems are easily and often caused by anxiety. See your test, and in the meantime, take our free 7 minute anxiety test to score your anxiety symptoms and receive ideas for how to control it.
Anxiety Tooth Problems
Anxiety doesn't directly affect the teeth. But what anxiety does do is cause other problems that end up having an effect on tooth health. My free 7 minute anxiety test will give you some idea about whether or not your tooth problems are a sign of anxiety.
There are many different potential tooth problems related to anxiety, and some experts are finding that the connection between the mouth and mental health may be even stronger than ever anticipated. Some examples include:
- Tooth Grinding Tooth grinding, especially at night, is one of the most common problems with anxiety and much of that tooth grinding happens after you go to sleep. Unfortunately, because it occurs while sleeping, many people with tooth problems have no idea that they are grinding their teeth as they start to wear down their enamel while waking up with headaches. Tooth grinding (and clenching) can even happen during the day as well, and you may not even realize it unless it starts to hurt or ache around the jaw.
- Acid Stress and anxiety appear to have a relationship with acid reflux, although acid reflux is technically a separate condition. If true, the stomach acids that occur during acid reflux may damage your teeth and enamel.
- Tooth Fears Many people do not have a problem with their teeth. Rather, their anxiety causes them to obsess over their teeth, believing that every toothache means there is a tooth health problem and possibly even over-brushing to the point where they can actually damage their teeth and gums.
- Disregarding Oral Health The opposite may be true as well. Many people with anxiety simply ignore their oral health because they're too wrapped up in their other issues. Or they may eat too much sugars as a way of coping with stress. All of these can lead to problems with your teeth.
- Dry Mouth It's not clear whether anxiety causes medically serious dry mouth, but dry mouth itself can affect the health of your teeth, and dry mouth may occur with anxiety. Since dry mouth involves less salivation than necessary, and because saliva is important for helping your teeth, it's possible that the relationship plays a role in tooth health.
Those with anxiety are also prone to hyperawareness, and that means that on occasion their teeth may feel like there are more problems than those without anxiety. For example, some people report that during an anxiety attack they feel as though their teeth are loosening or in pain. If they did not have anxiety, they would not notice these symptoms, even though nothing is technically wrong with your teeth.
See a Dentist, Cure Anxiety
Unfortunately, tooth problems are not something that can be easily cured at home. You should always maintain good oral healthcare, but you also need to see your dentist and listen to any of their recommendations. Be as honest as possible. Tell them about your anxiety, tell them what you do regularly for your oral healthcare, and tell them about your diet. They'll give you insight into what likely caused your tooth problems and what you can do about them.
Then, make sure that you are working towards treating your anxiety, especially since the most common tooth problem (grinding) isn't something you can control unless your stress and anxiety is reduced. You can attempt a mouth guard for a while, but eventually you will need to cure your anxiety.
I've helped many of those with teeth problems cure their anxiety, starting with my free 7 minute anxiety test.> Learn more about how to control your anxiety by taking the test now.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.