Rubbing Tongue on Teeth Anxiety

rubbing tongue on teeth anxiety

Are you unknowingly sabotaging your oral health? Uncover the truth behind rubbing tongue on teeth anxiety and learn the secrets to conquering your dental fears for good! 

Rubbing tongue on teeth anxiety is a unique and often overlooked form of dental anxiety that affects many individuals worldwide. Dental anxiety, in general, is a common condition that can lead to avoidance of dental care and subsequent oral health issues.

This article will explore the causes and consequences of rubbing tongue on teeth anxiety and effective strategies to manage and overcome this condition.

Understanding Dental Anxiety

Before delving into the specifics of rubbing tongue on teeth anxiety, it is essential to understand dental anxiety.

Dental anxiety is characterized by intense fear, worry, or nervousness related to dental visits and procedures. Symptoms can range from mild unease to severe panic, including increased heart rate, sweating, restlessness, and even avoidance of dental care altogether.

Studies estimate that up to 20% of people experience dental anxiety, highlighting the importance of addressing this issue.

Causes of Rubbing Tongue on Teeth Anxiety

Rubbing tongue on teeth anxiety can have various underlying causes, both psychological and societal.

  • One common psychological factor contributing to dental anxiety is past traumatic dental experiences.
  • A negative encounter with the dentist during childhood or a painful dental procedure can leave a lasting impact and contribute to anxiety in future dental visits.
  • The fear of pain or needles is another psychological factor that can intensify dental anxiety.
  • Individuals with a low pain threshold or a heightened sensitivity to dental sensations may be more prone to rub their tongues on their teeth as a coping mechanism.
  • Beyond individual experiences, cultural and societal influences can also contribute to dental anxiety.
  • Negative portrayals of dentistry in media, such as movies or television shows depicting painful and uncomfortable dental procedures, can create a sense of fear and apprehension.
  • The social stigma surrounding oral health can make individuals feel embarrassed or ashamed of their dental condition, further exacerbating their anxiety and the tendency to rub their tongues on their teeth.

The Connection Between Rubbing Tongue on Teeth and Anxiety

The habit of rubbing the tongue on teeth is not uncommon, and it can be a sign of anxiety or stress. Many people press their tongues against their teeth to seek temporary relief or distraction from their anxious thoughts or feelings. This repetitive motion, whether conscious or during sleep, is often an unconscious attempt to self-soothe.

However, it’s important to note that rubbing your tongue on your teeth can negatively affect oral health. The constant friction can lead to enamel erosion and increased tooth sensitivity. Additionally, it can contribute to gum recession and even discomfort in the jaw or surrounding muscles.

In conclusion, while rubbing your tongue on your teeth may temporarily alleviate anxiety, it’s important to recognize the potential negative impact on your oral health. By addressing the underlying anxiety and adopting healthier coping mechanisms, you can take steps towards breaking the habit and protecting your teeth and gums for the long term.

Strategies for Managing Dental Anxiety

Managing dental anxiety requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the condition’s psychological and physical aspects. Here are some effective strategies to consider.

Open communication with the dentist

  • Establishing open and honest communication with your dentist is essential.
  • Express your fears and concerns, allowing them to tailor their approach and provide the necessary support during your dental visits.

Relaxation and mindfulness exercises

  • Learning relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or guided imagery, can help reduce anxiety before and during dental procedures.
  • Practising mindfulness can also promote a sense of calm and centeredness.

Sedation options for dental procedures

Depending on the severity of your anxiety, your dentist may offer sedation options such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or oral sedatives. These can help you relax and feel more comfortable during dental treatments.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy for dental anxiety

  • Engaging in cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) with a qualified therapist can effectively manage dental anxiety.
  • CBT helps identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about dental care, gradually reducing fear and increasing coping mechanisms.

Dental Care Tips for Anxiety Sufferers

Maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine can be challenging for individuals with dental anxiety. However, prioritizing oral health is crucial for preventing future dental issues. Here are some tips to make dental care more manageable.

Maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine

Brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing daily is essential for good oral hygiene. Establish a consistent routine to ensure you stay on track with your oral care despite any anxiety you may experience.

Using desensitizing techniques for oral discomfort

If you experience tooth sensitivity or discomfort while brushing, consider using desensitizing toothpaste or a soft-bristled toothbrush. These products can help minimize any discomfort and make the experience more tolerable.

Seeking professional guidance for oral health maintenance

Consult your dentist or dental hygienist to learn proper brushing and flossing techniques. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific oral health needs and help you overcome any challenges you may face due to anxiety.

Treatment Options for Dental Anxiety

Consulting a dentist or mental health professional specializing in anxiety disorders can provide the support and guidance you need. They can assess the severity of your anxiety, identify underlying causes, and develop a personalized treatment plan. Some common treatment options for dental anxiety include:

Behavioural therapies

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is often used to treat dental anxiety. It helps individuals identify negative thought patterns, challenge irrational beliefs, and develop coping strategies to manage their anxiety during dental visits.


Dentists or mental health professionals may prescribe anti-anxiety medications to help individuals manage their dental anxiety. These medications can be taken before dental procedures to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Gradual exposure therapy

Gradual exposure to dental stimuli is an effective technique for overcoming dental anxiety. This approach involves exposing individuals to dental environments or procedures in a controlled and gradual manner, allowing them to build resilience and reduce anxiety over time.

Relaxation techniques

Learning relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery, can help individuals manage their anxiety during dental visits. These techniques promote a sense of calm and relaxation, making the experience more comfortable.

A step-by-step guide to overcoming dental anxiety

Overcoming dental anxiety is a process that requires patience and persistence. Here are some step-by-step strategies to help you gradually overcome your anxiety:

Acknowledge your anxiety

  • Recognize that your anxiety is valid and understandable.
  • By acknowledging your feelings, you can begin to address them more effectively.

Find a supportive dentist

  • Look for a dentist specializing in treating dental anxiety patients.
  • A compassionate and understanding dentist can significantly improve your comfort level during dental visits.

Establish trust

  • Building a trusting relationship with your dentist is crucial.
  • Take the time to communicate openly, express your fears and concerns, and work together to create a treatment plan that accommodates your needs.

Start small

  • Begin with minor dental procedures or check-ups to ease yourself into the dental environment.
  • Gradually expose yourself to more extensive treatments as your comfort level increases.

Celebrate progress

  • Recognize and celebrate even the smallest victories.
  • Each successful dental visit or procedure is a step forward in overcoming your anxiety.
  • Reward yourself for facing your fears and taking positive steps toward better oral health.

Holistic Approaches to Managing Dental Anxiety

In addition to traditional treatment options, there are holistic approaches that can complement your efforts in managing dental anxiety. These approaches focus on the mind-body connection and aim to promote overall well-being. Consider incorporating the following holistic techniques:

Meditation and mindfulness

  • Meditation and mindfulness techniques can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and promote relaxation.
  • Set aside a few minutes daily to engage in mindful breathing exercises or guided meditations designed to alleviate anxiety.


  • Certain scents, such as lavender or chamomile, have calming properties that can help reduce anxiety.
  • Use essential oils or scented candles during dental visits to create a soothing and relaxing environment.

Acupressure and acupuncture

  • These ancient techniques involve applying gentle pressure or inserting thin needles into specific points on the body.
  • They are believed to help release tension, promote relaxation, and reduce anxiety.

The Future of Dental Anxiety Treatment

The field of dental anxiety treatment continues to evolve with ongoing research and technological advancements. Here are some potential developments to look forward to in the future.

Virtual reality (VR) therapy

Virtual reality has shown promise in reducing dental anxiety by creating immersive and distraction-based experiences during dental procedures. VR technology can transport patients to virtual environments, helping to alleviate anxiety and discomfort.

Biofeedback devices

Emerging technologies in biofeedback aim to provide real-time feedback on physiological markers of anxiety, such as heart rate and muscle tension. These devices can help individuals monitor and manage their anxiety levels during dental visits.

Telehealth and online resources

The convenience and accessibility of telehealth services have the potential to make dental care more accessible for individuals with dental anxiety. Virtual consultations, online resources, and remote therapy sessions can provide support and guidance from the comfort of one’s home.

Mind-body interventions

Integrative approaches that combine traditional dental care with mind-body interventions, such as yoga or mindfulness-based stress reduction, are gaining recognition. These interventions focus on enhancing overall well-being and reducing anxiety, which can positively impact dental anxiety management.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes rubbing tongue on teeth anxiety?

Rubbing tongue on teeth anxiety can be caused by past traumatic dental experiences, fear of pain or needles, and societal influences perpetuating negative perceptions of dentistry.

How does rubbing the tongue on teeth relate to anxiety?

Rubbing the tongue on teeth is a self-soothing behaviour associated with anxiety. It provides temporary relief or distraction from anxious thoughts and sensations.

What are some strategies to manage dental anxiety?

Effective strategies include open communication with the dentist, relaxation techniques like deep breathing, considering sedation options, and exploring cognitive-behavioural therapy for long-term anxiety management.

A Word from Healthy Lifestyle

Rubbing tongue on teeth anxiety is a unique manifestation of dental anxiety that requires attention and understanding. By exploring the causes, consequences, and strategies for managing dental anxiety, individuals can take steps towards better oral health and a more positive dental experience.

Addressing dental anxiety involves a holistic approach, encompassing open communication with the dentist, relaxation techniques, and, if necessary, seeking professional help. Individuals can regain control over their oral health by incorporating dental care tips and gradually overcoming anxiety through exposure and celebration of progress.

Remember, seeking assistance is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step towards better oral health and overall well-being. Overcoming dental anxiety is possible, and with the right support and strategies, individuals can reclaim their oral health and approach dental visits confidently.

By Sonam Tobgay

I'm the creator of Healthy Lifestyle blog. I've been fascinated with health related articles and information since 2005 and have spent most of my waking hours consuming health contents from the top professionals in this field. My goal is to share the best tips and news about health, benefits of fruits and vegetables, and other health related issues so you can follow and lead a healthy life.

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