Dental Blog

Can Stress Affect Your Oral Health?

We all encounter stress in our daily lives. Many may be aware of the issues that it causes on our bodies such as high blood pressure, headaches or even heart disease. But did you know about the negative effects that stress can cause on your oral health? Unfortunately, our oral health can develop many conditions as a result of outward stressors.

Many dental professionals are finding the link between stress and the dental issues that their patients have. Many of them can detect the links based on damage to the enamel of the teeth, oral discomforts and more. If you notice that you are feeling more stressed and anxious lately, pay attention to any changes in your mouth. See below to learn more about the dental issues that can occur as a result of excessive stress.


Bruxism is caused by the grinding and clenching of the teeth. This behavior can happen unconsciously during sleep or consciously and can cause serious damage to your jaw or your teeth. In some cases, this condition can result in fracturing, loosening or loosening of the teeth. Bruxism can be considered a nervous habit if you are under constant stress or are excessively nervous.

According to Colgate bruxism affects about 30 – 40 million children and adults. It’s also most common in people who are ages 22-44 years old. There are many symptoms that can determine if you have this condition. Some of these include:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Worn out tooth enamel
  • Fractured or chipped tooth
  • Grinding of teeth that awaken partner

If you feel like you have the symptoms of bruxism, contact your dental professional. They can provide a deep analysis of your teeth and can provide a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your jaw.

Dry Mouth

This condition occurs when your mouth is not producing enough saliva. During times of stress, you can experience this condition more frequently. According to the American Dental Association, dry mouth can increase your chances of developing plaque or cavities due to the lack of hydration of the mouth. Bacteria thrive in dry environments and can eventually develop into periodontal disease.

Saliva helps protect the mouth and keep it refreshed. It also helps to maintain the tissues in your mouth soft and moist while helping wash away food particles in the mouth. There are many signs of dry mouth, some of these include difficulty swallowing and chewing, trouble speaking, or a sore throat.

If you experience dry mouth, you should drink water in order to provide the moisture that your mouth needs. The American Dental Association also recommends chewing sugar-free gum that helps the salivary glands produce saliva.

It’s also important if you are going through stress and anxiety to speak to your health care professional. They can help provide great solutions that will help reduce and/or eliminate the risk for developing a dry mouth.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are small ulcers that appear in the mouth and make it painful to eat or speak. These sores are non-cancerous and can last for a week. Sometimes along with this condition, people may experience fever, swollen lymph nodes or body ache. Many people who have had canker sores before will notice that they will get them off and on throughout their life.

Professionals don’t know the direct causes of canker sores but many believe that they can be triggered by stress. Certain acidic foods can cause these sores to appear because of the irritation that they cause to the gums. Over-the-counter medication such as Orajel can provide comfort from the pain until the sore goes away.

Some people may confuse a cold sore with a canker sore because they look similar, but they are not the same. Unlike a canker, a cold sore is contagious and is caused by a virus. It’s crucial that if a sore appears in your mouth to seek a medical professional’s advice to rule out any further complications.

Temporomandibular Disorder

TMD, also known as a temporomandibular disorder is a long list of conditions that affects the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint). Many health care professionals say that stress is thought to be the main factor in developing this disorder. You will find that your jaw muscles will be increasing sore, clenching and grinding of the teeth will increase if you have TMD.

Many other people with this condition will experience many signs of bruxism (mentioned above), along with signs of flat tips of the teeth and damage to the enamel. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important that you should check with your dentist to see if TMD is the culprit.

Contact Us

It’s important that if you are going through extreme stress for a long period of time to talk to your healthcare professionals. Stress can cause considerable damage to your overall health and can impact your life negatively. Start with calling your dental professional and keep your teeth protected. Call us today to schedule a dental appointment, Dr. Matthew P. Huff is dedicated to helping all of his patients maintain a healthy smile.