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  • Writer's pictureDr Kumarswamy's PerioFamily Advanced Dentistry

Stress and Oral Health

Stress is a reason behind many health issues, and your oral health could be no exception.

Can stress affect your oral health?

Yes, stress can affect your oral health in more ways than you can think. Stress may contribute to gum problems and diseases, teeth grinding, dryness in the mouth, canker sores & may impact your oral health routine and diet. It increases your risk of tooth decay. Long-term stress may not just affect your emotional and physical health, but it can also be bad for your teeth and mouth. It's essential to analyze the causes of your stress and know your body's early warning signs. It's also wise to take steps to reduce your stress.


Six ways stress can impact your oral health

Canker Sores

Have you suffered through occasional attacks of painful and annoying mouth ulcers? Several studies show that stress is a big trigger for canker sores. Few other triggers include vitamin B deficiency, any mouth injury or irritation. Canker sores, also known as oral ulcers are the white spots found on the soft tissue of the mouth. Usually Harmless but can be painful, canker sores go away on their own within 1-2 weeks. Your dentist may also prescribe a topical ointment or rinse. One can reduce canker sores by reducing stress.

Teeth Grinding

The grinding of teeth is known as a common oral health problem. You may probably grind your teeth while you sleep. Based on an oral examination, your dentist may prescribe a tooth guard for you to wear at night. Clenching can cause damage to your teeth and enamel. It may also cause headaches and soreness in the jaw. Stress and anxiety are known to be the major causes of teeth grinding. In such a situation, meditation, counselling, and exercise are some ways that can be useful to reduce the stress that causes teeth grinding and clenching

Gum Disease

Stress often lowers your immune system and increases your risk for infection in the mouth. It also makes it harder for your body to fight off any infections. The infection of gums causes gum disease and in turn causes loose teeth, bad breath and bleeding gums. If you suffer from severe gum disease, you may need to see a dental specialist called a periodontist. Your treatment may include stress reduction.

Poor oral hygiene

Stress can affect your oral hygiene too. Being under significant stress may affect your mood, and it may cause you to skip brush, floss, and rinse. If you don't brush your teeth and keep your mouth clean, you raise your chances of getting cavities. You can also have tooth decay and gum disease. When you're stressed, you also pick up unhealthy eating habits that may cause poor oral health.

Burning or Dry Mouth

A burning mouth is a dry, hot and burning feeling in your mouth. Dry mouth is a side effect of stress and the medicines used to treat stress and depression. In women, hormone changes after menopause can also be a cause of this problem. Avoid stress-related smoking and drinking as it can make burning your mouth worse. Treatment for burning or dry mouth syndrome can include stress counselling and antidepressant medicine.

Biting of nails

Biting of nails can move your teeth out of position and can also be harmful to your teeth. It is a stress-related habit that can cause damage to your overall health and your oral health. Germs from fingernails to your mouth while biting can lead to mouth infections. To find better ways to deal with stress. Consult a doctor for help.


How can you reduce your symptoms?

To reduce your symptoms, you need to first reach out to the root cause and figure out why you are stressed. After pinpointing the causes, think about how to deal with your stress levels. It is ok to seek help from your doctor. Try following these steps in the meantime to get relief from painful oral symptoms: Ask for prescribed medications.

  1. Maintain excellent and proper dental hygiene.

  2. Talk to your dentist and know about the treatment options. Find ways to relax. Overall destress is a must.

  3. Address teeth grinding problems by consulting your dentist. Eat a well-balanced diet.

  4. Avoid hard or crunchy foods.

  5. Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol. Avoid the sun or use sunscreen.

How can you manage stress?

  1. Try to live an overall healthier life.

  2. Identify what stresses you and try to pin it down. Get at least 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night. Prioritize your responsibilities at home and work.

  3. Talk and share your problems with someone you trust. Exercise every day if possible.

  4. Don't be too harsh on yourself.

  5. Most importantly, seek professional counselling if you find it hard to manage the stress in your life.


Visit Dr Kumarswamy's Dental Clinic to know how stress affects your oral health without you knowing about it. Our clinic provides the treatments required to improve your oral health and hygiene. Contact us to schedule your next dentist appointment.


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