It shouldn’t have been a shock when my tooth broke off, but of course, it was.
For months, my jaw and teeth have been in a constant state of clenching and grinding. Now, a molar had broken in half, pushed over the edge by one bite of a salted caramel cookie and a steady diet of political news-induced stress.
Research shows that as much as 70 percent of bruxism (the medical term for jaw and tooth grinding) occurs as a result of stress and anxiety. For me, the issue started after November’s election, when, like millions of other Americans (or to be exact, 57 percent, according to the American Psychological Association) my anxiety level ratcheted up to an all-time high and stayed that way, thanks to the relentless stream of Trump and Republican-related nightmares we’ve been bombarded with ever since.
In 2017, there is no escaping the news or the stress that it can bring. All we can do is try to find a balance between staying informed and staying sane — and I, for one, am failing. Like a lab rat hitting a feeder bar, I tap every mobile news alert. I refresh the same news outlets multiple times a day, then text stories to my friends to share in the outrage. I read Twitter after I go to bed. Then, apparently, I grind my teeth to their studs in my sleep.