Stress & Oral Habits

Posted on 03/21/2019

The effects of stress on our body are well-known. Stress not only affects your body, it impacts your oral health as well. One specific way is by clenching or grinding our teeth, also known as bruxism or bruxing. When we grind or clench, we damage our teeth and dental work by:


  • Wearing down the tooth's surface
  • increasing likelihood of cavities
  • Damaging or scraping away the enamel
  • Increasing sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Damaging crowns and fillings
  • Loosening teeth
  • Becoming prone to tooth loss
  • Causing Jaw pain and headache


It is common to clench or grind your teeth without your knowledge, as it often occurs during sleep. This is something kids and teens can be at risk for, just like adults.

Why Do We Clench & Grind Our Teeth?

Stress is the main reason for clenching and/or grinding our teeth, whether it happens nocturnally or during the day. Here are other common factors that can lead to bruxing:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Overuse of caffeine
  • Side effects of certain prescription medications

Solutions & Treatments

As most bruxism is stress-related, the simplest way to reduce teeth-clenching and grinding, is by managing our stress in positive ways. Relaxation techniques may help, but a custom occlusal guard may be the best long-term option. An occlusal guard is a custom-made type of mouthguard similar to an athletic mouthguard that is worn during the night. The occlusal guard keeps teeth from touching one another during sleep and also maintains proper jaw alignment during sleep to help reduce jaw pain.

Contact Larry Caldwell, DDS & Associates!

If you or your child experiences any of the above symptoms related to bruxing, please contact Larry Caldwell, DDS & Associates today. Our skilled pediatric dentists would be happy to address your needs!