How Stress & Anxiety Might Be Impacting Your Oral Health


It’s common knowledge at this point that stress and anxiety negatively affect your health. Many people are concerned with heart problems, weight and other impacts of high stress and anxiety on their lives. One area of your health that you may not have considered when it comes to stress is your oral health.

Unfortunately, stress and anxiety in your life can manifest itself negatively in your mouth, teeth, gums or jaw. There are many conditions that either appear or become significantly worse when you’re under duress for extended periods of time. The good news is that dentists are aware of these problems and can help you mitigate or eliminate these problems.

The Impacts of Stress

Dentists have begun to see how long-term, underlying stress impacts oral health in negative ways. While each person is different, there are a few conditions that are common in high-stress individuals. These conditions are known to be created or exacerbated by stress, and your dentist can recognize people who have one or more of these conditions are being under stress and anxiety.

Four oral health conditions are common in individuals with high stress and anxiety:

  • Jaw Clenching and Teeth GrindingThis is one of the most problematic manifestations of stress. Usually coupled with insomnia or general trouble sleeping, grinding or bruxism can have significant negative impacts on your oral health.Grinding leads to serious jaw and tooth issues such as broken teeth or permanently damaged jaw bones and muscles. If you are grinding your teeth, your dentist will recommend wearing a mouth guard to reduce the impact and damage to your mouth.
  • Canker SoresCanker sores are the annoying, painful little sores that show up on the inside of your mouth. There can be one or more, and there is little that can be done to make them heal faster. Unfortunately, studies have shown that stress increases the occurrences of canker sores in the mouth.
  • Cold SoresCold sores are sores on the outside of the mouth and lips caused by the herpes simplex virus. Stress and anxiety have been shown to trigger outbreaks in those who get cold sores. Similarly to canker sores, there is little that can be done to make them heal faster outside of topical treatments that numb the pain.
  • Neglected Dental HygieneThough this is not a specific symptom, stress, anxiety and general feelings of upset can lead to you neglecting your normal dental hygiene. This can cause long-term issues like gum disease, cavities or other serious oral health conditions. Even when you’re feeling stressed or that you have no time to complete your to-do’s for the day, it is crucial to remember your oral hygiene for the sake of your dental health.

Stress Reduction and Your Health

While it is easy to tell you to relax and reduce their stress, we know this is not always possible or easy to do. The important thing is to remember that stress can have serious impacts on your oral and general health if you don’t do anything to get it under control. From damaged teeth to serious jaw problems and other physical and aesthetic issues, stress can be a major source of damage to your life.

If you have questions about new oral health symptoms you’ve been experiencing or want to talk to your dentist about medicines and products to help like mouth guards and medications for sores, contact us today at Hassey Dental. Our experienced dentists and dental staff can help you mitigate oral health concerns and find ways to reduce the impact of stress on your daily life.

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