How Stress Affects Your Teeth

Stress is known to negatively affect you not only emotionally but physically as well. It’s no different for your teeth. Here are a few ways stress affects your mouth, teeth and oral health and well-being.

  1. Gum Disease – (And other diseases and infections) High stress levels affect your immune system’s ability to fight off diseases and bacterial infections. It also means that you’ll have a harder time getting rid disease or infection once you have it.
  2. Canker Sores – There is no definite answer behind why we get canker sores, however it has been noticed that canker sores occur more frequently when you’re tired and stressed. It has also been noted that canker sores take a longer time to heal if you don’t allow your body to get proper rest.
  3. TMJ/LockJaw/Grinding/Nail Biting – Stress can affect us on a subconscious level. Even if you think you are covering it up or ignoring it, it can come out while you’re sleeping or not even thinking about it. You may not notice that you’re clenching your teeth and causing your muscles to tighten and get sore or notice that you’re grinding your teeth at night.
  4. Cold Sores – Different from canker sores, cold sores are caused by a virus so you either have it or you don’t. If you’re stressed, you’re more likely to cause an outbreak and the longer you stay stressed, the longer your cold sores will stick around.
  5. Bad Oral Hygiene – If you’re really stressed, you may be neglecting your teeth without realizing it. You may not be brushing correctly (or at all) or going to visit the dentist. You may also skip important steps such as flossing and gargling. Dentists can usually tell when you’re very stressed out by looking at your mouth.
  6. Stress Eating – Stress can cause you to eat more junk food. Junk food in combination with poor cleaning habits can harm your mouth at a very fast rate.

If you’re very stressed out, try taking an hour for yourself and relax. Force yourself to stay away from harmful foods and poor habits. Get as much sleep as possible and drink plenty of water. Even just a little care can go a long way in helping your teeth and mouth stay healthy. Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating patients in the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York for over twenty-five years. If you have any questions or need to make an appointment, call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.