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7 Ways That Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Stress Affects Your Oral Health

We have all heard of the countless ways that stress can affect your negative health, but most of the time when we think of the negative effects of stress, our mind goes to mental health.

However, stress can affect your health in many different ways.

One part of your body that can be affected by stress is your mouth. More specifically, we’re talking about your teeth and gums.

Since this effect of stress is often neglected and unknown, we feel it’s important to let you know about what can happen with your teeth and gums when you are experiencing a lot of stress, what that can lead to, and why you should address stress in your life in a healthy way.

Health Risks of Stress

Nail Biting

The first way that stress can negatively affect your teeth and dental health is somewhat of an indirect one.

Nail biting is one thing that a lot of people tend to do when they are stressed out. While not many people stop and think about the effects that this bad habit can have on their teeth, they certainly should start!

Biting your nails can have several negative effects on your dental health. The first one that comes to mind is that there is a massive transfer of germs.

Whichever germs were on your fingers or under your nails will likely be transferred into your mouth which is gross and unhealthy. You might also find that warts can easily transfer from your hands to your mouth.

It isn’t always easy to fight stress and the subsequent effects that it has on your habits, but you should definitely try to avoid nail biting when you are stressed or just in general as well. Your dental health will be better off for it!

Teeth Grinding

This might seem like a minor issue, but is in fact a large problem in your dental health when you are under stress.

When you are experiencing more stress, you might start to grind your teeth. It’s not too difficult to understand that this can be detrimental to your dental health. In most cases, teeth grinding is not a conscious decision.

Most of the time it is done while we are distracted or even asleep, and we don’t realize that we are doing it.

Grinding your teeth can lead to much more severe issues such as sleep disorders, damaged teeth, chronic headaches, and more.

If you find yourself taking part in teeth grinding or experiencing the consequences of teeth grinding, you should most certainly take action to prevent it in the future or address the source of your stress.

Canker Sores

Many of know canker sores to be a very unpleasurable experience. If that’s the case, then you definitely want to avoid stress as much as possible. Canker sores in the mouth are very common in those who experience very high levels of stress.

Canker sores can certainly lead to other mouth health problems down the line, so if you want to preserve your dental health, you should find a way to manage your stress.

TMJ Syndrome

Along with canker sores, TMJ is probably one of the most unpleasant effects of stress on the mouth. TMJ is known to create stiffness, pain, and popping in the jaw and anyone who has had it before can tell you that it’s not a fun experience.

TMJ is typically brought on by the overuse of jaw muscles, and can certainly take hold while you are at a very stressed place in your life.

The TMJ experts at Manhasset Miracle Smile say if your jaw pain is frequent, have your teeth checked soon. Prolonging treatment causes more wear and tear over time.

Gum Infections

When you are stressed, your body is not as strong as it is under normal circumstances. When your body is weakened, so is its immune system, which reduces your ability to fight off infections and other illnesses.

This affects your mouth because gum infections become quite common during these periods of elevated stress.

Gum infections can be painful, uncomfortable, and lead to more severe infections and conditions down the line.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Not many people have heard of burning mouth syndrome, but those who have had it won’t ever forget it. As we said earlier, elevated stress does weaken the body’s ability to fight off conditions and illnesses that we would otherwise not have a problem dispatching.

However, when we are stressed, we are more susceptible and that’s where burning mouth syndrome comes in.

Burning mouth syndrome includes pain and swelling in the mouth area and is most common among women.

You’ll find that drinking and smoking make it even worse, so be sure to avoid those if you do find yourself suffering from burning mouth syndrome.

Remember to get your mouth checked up at least twice a year for any of the above issues, as recommended by Dr. Stuart Feintuch.

Preventing Stress

One way to combat the negative effects that stress has on your mouth is to combat the stress itself.

Here are some handy techniques that you can use to reduce the amount of stress in your life and promote good mouth health.

  1. Meditating
  2. Deep Breathing
  3. Take Pauses
  4. Talk With Others
  5. Lessen Your Load
  6. Do Hobbies

If you can reduce the amount of stress in your life, you are putting your mouth and body in the best position possible to be healthy and happy.

Learning to deal with stress in a productive way is absolutely essential for being in good health and living a life without unnecessary health problems that you might otherwise encounter with the heavy burden of intense stress.

Using these techniques correctly can help cut down on the effect that stress has on your body, even if they can’t cut down on the number of things you have to do or your level of urgency.

We don’t always have control over what we have to do on an everyday basis, but we do have control over how we deal with it as an individual.


The mouth is an often-neglected area of the body when it comes to stress. The negative effects of stress can ripple throughout your body, and that includes the mouth.

Not dealing with stress effectively can mean a lot of pain, discomfort, and treatment costs at your local dentist office frequently.

To prevent that, try to make the stress in your life more manageable and grow as a person to handle stress in a more productive way.

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Akash Saini
Akash is an editor of Ok Easy Life. He is an atheist who believes in love and cultural diversity. Reach out to him at [email protected]