how stress affects oral health

How to Navigate Stress and Dental Health

Not only can stress wear you down both emotionally and physically, it also has a drastic effect on your health and well-being. Surprisingly enough, this includes your oral health. From teeth grinding to canker sores, stress can be the culprit for a long list of dental issues. Furthermore, your diet during stress also takes its toll on your smile. A poor diet can lead to faster tooth decay and additional oral health problems. Not sure if stress is causing your tooth problems? Preventive dentistry solutions could be the answer! If you’re unsure about a dental issue, we will always recommend getting a checkup. Being preventive and seeking preventative dental care can save thousands of dollars down the road.

So how does stress affect your oral health? Below we’ve listed eight ways how stress affects oral health:

Canker Sores

Although canker sores aren’t very harmful to your health, they can be painful at times. These sores should disappear within 1-2 weeks, and prescribed treatment is sometimes needed. Canker sores are very common and can be a sign of someone being stressed. If you notice constant stress in your life, keep an eye out for these sores – which appear white in color. Call a health professional if you have any questions.

Teeth Grinding

Millions of people grind their teeth, which can certainly lead to oral health issues. Furthermore, studies show that teeth grinding is related to stressed-out individuals. Teeth grinding can be caused by thinking too much and falling asleep stressed out. If you constantly wake up with jaw soreness or painful headaches, teeth grinding might be the problem.

Poor Diet

While being stressed out can make someone alter their workout routine, it can also change their diet. If someone has too much going on, they might neglect what they put in their mouths. Although it might be faster and more convenient to choose fast food, this cycle can lead one down the wrong path. And that path has a direct connection with your oral health. While proper nourishment of vitamins and vegetables gets neglected, your mouth and smile might suffer some consequences.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Since stress is usually focused around your mood, it might cause you to skip out on healthy habits. One of these is ensuring the use of proper oral hygiene techniques. This includes properly flossing, brushing your teeth, and using mouthwash. Disregarding these important oral hygiene steps can lead to serious mouth issues down the road. While stress can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable, relieving stress can do wonders for your oral health.

Teeth Clenching

Similar to teeth grinding, teeth clenching can be very detrimental to the life of your teeth. But just like grinding, this issue can be difficult to detect. Most of the time it happens in our sleep or happens while we don’t even notice it. One thing to look out for is soreness in the jaw or constant headaches. The longer you deal with teeth clenching, the more damage your teeth will endure. Not sure if you clench your teeth? Make a preventive dentistry appointment today!

Dry Mouth

While many people might not realize it, saliva serves some very important purposes for our oral health. One of its most important uses is in regards to protecting tooth decay. Saliva is known for protecting enamel and ensuring our teeth last for many years to come. Another important element of saliva is its bacteria-fighting capabilities. It is proven to help get rid of bacteria, and keep our mouths clean and infection-free. Dry mouth is usually caused by the medicine used to treat stress and/or depression.

Gum Disease (Periodontal disease)

Long exposure to stress has been known to affect the immune system. While you might get sick more often, you might also deal with oral health issues. One of which is gum disease. When the immune system isn’t working at its full strength, our gums are vulnerable. Bacteria and infections are more likely to develop when long-term stress is evident, and seeking professional help is highly recommended. Staying on top of your preventative dentistry needs will be extremely beneficial to help prevent these issues in the future.


Stress and dental health and tooth decay, unfortunately, go hand-in-hand – and it begins with the food we eat. This starts with the buildup of plaque, which is produced from the high amounts of sugar and starch we consume. The plaque creates acids that interact with the sugary and starchy deposits in our mouths. These acids are very harmful to tooth enamel and are proven to speed up the tooth decaying process. While this plaque may be caused from a poor diet, stress can also harm our teeth with the use of alcohol and drugs. That being said, long-term stress can certainly cause the buildup of bacteria, which might lead to more cavities and dental issues.

Kick the Stress to Enjoy a Healthier Smile!

Not only does stress affect our mood and emotionally state-of-mind, it can be very harmful to our teeth and overall oral health. As we discussed, issues such as canker sores, tooth decay, and gum disease are just a few of the many dental problems related to stress. Do you feel like you might have some of these symptoms? Are you constantly dealing with dental problems? If so, we highly recommend seeing a preventative dentistry specialist. No matter if you notice a small canker sore or minor soreness in your jaw, seeing a professional now might prevent a painful and costly procedure further down the road.

Relieving stress is not only great for your happiness and well-being, it also has extreme advantages for your oral health. Bacteria-free gums, no cavities, and strong teeth are just a few dental benefits of living stress-free.

While eliminating stress can be extremely difficult, doing so can help prevent severe health issues. If your stress is causing any of the dental problems described above, we recommend calling a medical professional. Live stress-free and improve your oral health today!