When I was young I was always taught to look after my teeth. Not to be scared of the Dentist, brush my teeth twice a day and not to have too many sweets/fizzy drinks. I’ve always tried to stick to this but am probably going to lose my teeth anyway. This is very annoying as even though I’m now 40, I only have one tiny filling which is something to be proud of. To get straight to the point my teeth are being ruined by my anxiety disorder.
When I was young my front teeth were quite big and was often called goofy by my fellow school pupils. The dentist removed four teeth to make room for both straightening and for the future arrival of wisdom teeth. I had a removable plate brace fitted to the top teeth (wish I’d have had a fixed ‘train track’ style for better results) and the bottom teeth were left to sort themselves out now they had extra room to manoeuvre.
I am quite paranoid about my teeth and as my anxiety and bipolar disorders get worse, obsessive cleaning and tooth damage does too. My gums are receding and my teeth are yellow/discoloured. I brush my teeth for far too long and far too hard. I’ve worn away my gums and my tooth enamel. My gums won’t repair themselves and no amount of teeth whitening will help as you need enamel for that to work. I hate them.
Anxiety causes me to clench my jaw and grind my teeth. This is a prime example of how mental health conditions can affect physical health. It is called Bruxism and I don’t know I’m doing it. The clenching causes a sore/stiff jaw, headaches and ear and face ache/pain. Sometimes my jaw doesn’t align properly again for days which makes the aches worse and eating hard. Tooth grinding is gradually wearing down my teeth and causing ridges on the edges that expose the dentin. I am starting to get some cracks forming and my teeth will probably start wiggling around and eventually drop out. The grinding can also be a side effect of my meds but it’s more likely to be a side effect of my constant severe anxiety. I’m even clenching and causing pain as I write this. So annoying.
Last year I was given a big blue mouth guard (like a boxer) to wear to at least try and reduce damage caused in my sleep but no matter how many adjustments were made it made me gag. I couldn’t sleep or stand to wear it so had to stop.
I have a few recurring dreams/nightmares but my tooth obsessions and problems over the years are the cause of two of them. I’ve tried to show the gist of one in my illustration although the teeth swing inward and outward. My front teeth are literally on hinges. They affect my speech as they flap around and can’t form words properly. Eating is a nightmare. How can I bite anything? People stare. I can’t even brush them properly.
The next is that my teeth fall out. I spit them out in my hand or they fly out as I speak. Sometimes I’m lucky and they are replaced underneath like when you lose your ‘milk’ teeth, but this is rare, but I’m delighted if it does. According to ‘Psychology Today’ “recurring dreams are connected to unresolved problems in the life of the dreamer”. Well unless I can win the lottery and have veneers and or implants I’m screwed dream wise! Perhaps a miracle cure for my mental health? Nope, thought not!
Thanks as always for reading. I’d love to hear if you have any recurring dreams or weird obsessions. Leave me a comment below or send me a direct message via the contact form x