There are few things more uncomfortable in life than having to visit the dentist for dental issues. Frequent dental problems are the bane of existence for many people, but did you know that some of them are directly related to anxiety? You probably didn’t, but fear not, this article will tell you everything you need to know about the relationship between anxiety and dental problems.
There are a myriad of unusual physical symptoms associated with anxiety, and dental problems are one of them. Teeth grinding is, unfortunately, very common with anxiety sufferers, and it is frequently the cause behind many visits to the dentist. Most people are completely unaware that their dental issues are cause by teeth grinding, because people usually engage in the behavior while they’re sleeping at night. They only realize that they’re suffering from tooth pain and that their jaws feel sore throughout the day. A common solution recommended by dentists is the use of a mouth guard at night to demobilize your jaw and prevent the grinding. However, this is only a short-term solution, and if it’s triggered by anxiety, you need to address that underlying problem.
It’s also important to remember that anxiety can manifest itself in an obsession with the overall health and appearance of your body, and your teeth are frequently a focal point of this concern. The very fear of having to visit the dentist and the severity of the potential problem can significantly increase anxiety, creating a circular effect that is hard to break out of. At this point, you have no other choice than to nip this in the bud by treating your anxiety.
When you feel like you’re in the grips of panic over your teeth, it’s important to take control of your breath. Most people breathe far too shallowly as it is, and this can worsen to the point of hyperventilation during a panic attack. Therefore, it’s important to concentrate on taking deep, nourishing breaths that will halt the progress of you attack. To do this, begin by taking a deep breath from within your diaphragm. You can make sure your doing this correctly by placing your hand over the area you want to be breathing from. Breathe in for five seconds, hold the breath for another five seconds, and then slowly release. Continue doing this until you begin to feel relaxed.
Another tactic you can use to defeat your anxiety is to utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely-regarded therapy in the psychological community that effectively treats anxiety. It is sometimes mistaken for “positive thinking,” but it is decidedly different in its approach to viewing life difficulties. Rather than only focusing on the positive aspects of a situation, cognitive-behavioral therapy encourages us to view situations more realistically. Anxiety sufferers frequently fall victim to cognitive distortion that lead to anxiety because they are not viewing events in their lives through a realistic lens. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches clients to identify the most common of these distortions and to address them in an appropriate manner.
Finally, it’s important to overhaul one’s lifestyle in order to truly get to the core of anxiety and alleviate it. Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night, as lack of sleep is notorious for worsening anxiety. Also, eat a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, and try to limit stimulants, such as caffeine. Exercise is a fantastic anxiety slayer, as it produces chemicals in the brain that promote feelings of well-being. To achieve this effect, try to get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity every day. On a non-anxiety related note, get to the dentist every six months to prevent any major problems from affecting your teeth. This should serve to eliminate your teeth as a source of stress from your life.
Suszynski, Marie. “Can Anxiety Affect Your Teeth?” <http://www.everydayhealth.com> 2 Jan 2013.