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The Connection Between Social Anxiety and Dental Problems


Did you know? Nearly one-hundred percent of adults experience tooth decay. That’s a lot of people. Or, well, better put — that’s all the people.

Did you also know that nearly 40 million United States adults suffer from some type of anxiety disorder? And of those individuals, some suffer from what’s commonly referred to as social anxiety disorder — which is a state of high anxiety that stems from feelings of potential humiliation, misrepresentation, and more when in the public space.

So, why present these two sets of facts all at once? Because they’re connected. Social anxiety can lead to increased dental problems!

Have you seen a decline in your dental hygiene due to social anxiety? Here’s what to know about your dental problems and some solutions to it all.

Short Term Issues

What is one of the most common short term dental problems resulting from social anxiety? Bruxism. You might know it by it’s more frequently-used name, “teeth grinding.”

The Mayo Clinic defines bruxism as a mouth-related issue in which an affected person grinds their teeth. And according to their experts, bruxism can be classified in one of two ways: awake teeth grinding or asleep teeth grinding.

But why is it a problem that social anxiety can cause teeth grinding? Is it really that big of a problem? Actually, yes! Bruxism wears down the enamel on your teeth, lowering their natural defenses, and it can even cause tooth fractures.

And the issues only grow over time …

Long Term Issues

While teeth grinding has plenty of short term side effects, it can and will also lead to a variety of serious long term complications, says this family dentist in Ballwin.

Over time, someone suffering from bruxism might even experience:

  • Headaches
  • Jaw Pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Facial Pain
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues — which can even result in auditory side effects
  • And more!

But don’t worry, while these issues might sound alarming and intense, there are solutions to help combat the dental problems associated with and linked to social anxiety.

What You Can Do to Help

First things first, if you think you might be grinding your teeth or suffering from bruxism (awake or asleep), it’s important that you schedule an appointment with your dentist.

After a thorough dental exam, your dentist will most likely recommend a few different options:

  • Watch & Wait — It’s common for bruxism to pass over time, depending on any help you may be receiving for social anxiety or any other related causes.
  • Mouth Guards & Splints — This is one of the more common solutions your dentist might offer. These guards are easy-to-use, typically fitted to your particular bite, and act as an in-mouth barrier between teeth. This prevents damage to each tooth if and when you begin to grind your teeth.
  • Dental Procedures — Sometimes, damage from bruxism is severe. In these cases, your dentist might recommend procedures to correct any major issues.

Social anxiety and dental problems are hard enough on their own — let alone when they’re joined together. But remember, there is a way forward and there are solutions to help! And when you prioritized your mental and dental wellbeing, you’re on your way to a happier, healthier life (learn more!).

Anxiety & Dental Problems

Did you know that social anxiety and dental problems could be so intricately connected? It’s not fun when you have to experience these issues, but they’re not without hope. And by taking care of one, you’re often helping take care of the other, too.

To learn more or explore more tips and advice about mental and dental health and wholeness, be sure to visit our site daily and check back on a regular basis!

David Smith