Could Stress Lead To Teeth Grinding?

Many of us are currently feeling high levels of stress, suddenly working from home, or being furloughed, or navigating the need to homeschool our children. Often, high levels of stress could actually impact our smiles, leading to an increased chance of teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. How do you avoid this issue, and how do we treat teeth grinding?

Stress and Bruxism

Bruxism means you grind your teeth or clench them regularly. For some people, this is a near nightly occurrence. Over time, the pressure of grinding and clenching your teeth could wear down tooth enamel, or even cause the teeth to become cracked or chipped. This exposes the dentin beneath the enamel and allows cavities and even infections to develop, threatening the health and stability of your smile. One of the major causes of this disorder is high levels of anxiety in your daily life.

Am I at Risk?

Other common causes include tooth loss, dental misalignment, bite imbalance, untreated TMJ disorder, and injury to the face or jaw. If any of these factors apply to you or if you have a high level of stress, you should watch for the common warning signs. Your significant other may tell you that you grind your teeth, or you could begin to experience headaches and migraines, jaw pain and facial discomfort, or aches in the neck and shoulders. If one or more of these symptoms sounds familiar, then consider contacting our team to learn what you can do from home until we can see you again in our office!

Treatment Options

At home, you may use a warm washcloth against the side of the face to reduce tension in the jaw joints and facial muscles, which could ease symptoms. To avoid exacerbating the symptoms, we suggest avoiding caffeinated products, and cutting back on hard or chewy foods. Try to lower the stress in your daily life by setting a schedule for your daily activities, or find time to work out or perform breathing exercises. When we can see you again, we may take detailed impressions of your smile to create a mouthguard that fits comfortably in your smile. The oral appliance then repositions the jaw joints to ease tension and places a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth to prevent further damage. If you have any questions about avoiding bruxism or addressing emergency issues, then contact our team today.


We want you to take steps to relieve anxiety and avoid the onset of issues like teeth grinding. To schedule an appointment with the Potach and Mitchell Dental Clinic, contact our Austin, MN dental office today by calling 507-437-6312. Our office welcomes patients from Austin, MN and surrounding communities.