How Your Teeth Can Indicate Early Stress

Your North Myrtle Beach dentist can tell more than whether or not you floss or drink coffee by looking at your teeth. They may be able to see if you experienced stress as a child. A new study out from University of Washington Health Sciences shows that a misaligned bite may indicate stress early in life.

Stress and Dental Work

It is already known that events during the first 1,000 days after conception can determine everything from a person’s life expectancy to their susceptibility to illnesses throughout life. This new study shows that asymmetrical bites indicate stress has occurred during this critical 1,000 period.

Out of a sample size of 6,654 children, aged 12 to 17, from data gathered from 1966 to 1970, found that one in four had this asymmetric bite and associated stress. Just from stress!

But that doesn’t mean that all crooked teeth point to stress. The study isn’t talking about overbite, underbite, or crowded and gapped teeth. Rather, an asymmetrical bite is defined as one where the teeth bite backward or forward on one side of the mouth and normally on the other.

It’s interesting research — and it’s important because people who had this asymmetrical bite were also at a higher risk of diabetes or obesity. That means diagnosing it early could help to prevent the occurrence of more serious health conditions later in life, but further research is needed into current populations.

Orthodontic Treatment: More Than Just Cosmetic

Seeking orthodontic treatment (i.e. traditional braces or Invisalign) can help to correct problems like crooked, crowded, or otherwise misaligned teeth to promote better oral and overall wellbeing for a lifetime. 

These common dental misalignments, that may have resulted from stress, are more than a cosmetic issue — when something is off with your bite, it can affect everything from your nutrition to your jaw health. A misaligned bite puts excess pressure on the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) which can make it painful to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. Crowded teeth are also more difficult to properly brush and floss, leaving you at a greater risk of developing cavities and gum disease.

Visiting your dentist to discuss options in orthodontic treatment can help you avoid these damaging side effects of misaligned teeth and future dental stress. Today, more adults than ever are wearing braces thanks to clear options like Invisalign, which straightens teeth using a series of clear plastic aligners. Invisalign can reduce the stress of wearing traditional braces. 

Don’t hesitate and don’t stress! Schedule an appointment with your North Myrtle Beachdentist to find out whether or not you need a referral for an orthodontist — it’s for the benefit of your oral and overall health!

About the Author

Dr. Emily Hortman has been providing families and friends in Little River and North Myrtle Beach with high-quality dentistry. To learn more about her preventive, cosmetic, or restorative treatments, or to schedule an appointment for superior dental care, you are invited to contact the office at 803-808-0888.