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Stress on Oral Health​​​​​​​
  • By The Center For Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
  • June 15, 2023
  • Stress is a natural aspect of life, and they’re not always bad. The bad ones can stem from various factors, including work, education, relationships, money, etc. Some stress is acceptable and even beneficial. But persistent or ongoing stress can harm your general and oral health. 


    The Link Between Stress and Oral Health


    Stress and oral health have a strong relationship. Your body makes more cortisol when you are under pressure. This hormone worsens inflammation throughout the body. An injury or infection will naturally cause inflammation. But when it persists, it may harm your tissues and organs. 

    Chronic inflammation in the mouth can result in gum disease. This can cause tooth loss and other severe health issues. Stress might also lead you to indulge in harmful habits like alcohol or smoking. 

    Either behavior can harm your oral health and raise your chance of developing cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. Stress can also trigger bad dental hygiene practices, like forgetting to brush or floss. These habits may promote the development of plaque and bacteria in the mouth.


    The Effects of Stress on Teeth


    Stress can cause several issues with your teeth. One of the most common is bruxism, or teeth grinding. This condition can lead to worn or cracked teeth, jaw pain, and headaches. Over time, it can cause your teeth to loosen or even fall out.

    You might clench your teeth when you are under stress. It strains the jaw and may cause discomfort and exhaustion in the muscles. It can also lead to dry mouth, which raises the chance of developing cavities and gum disease. You are more likely to consume sugary or acidic foods and beverages while you are under stress. They can wear away your teeth's enamel and cause tooth decay.


    The Effects of Stress on Gums


    Stress can harm your gums. Gum disease risk may increase as the body produces more inflammatory cytokines due to chronic stress. Additionally, stress can make you neglect your oral hygiene, allowing plaque and bacteria to build up along the gumline. This can result in gingivitis, making the gums enlarge, bleed, and turn red. 

    Gingivitis can worsen into periodontitis. Due to this disorder, the gums may pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots. This can lead to tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, and bone loss in the jaw.


    Mitigating the Damage


    Fortunately, you can take measures to lessen the harm that stress can do to your dental health. The first step is to control stress levels by practicing good behaviors like exercise, meditation, or counseling. Lowering your stress levels will also reduce cortisol levels and inflammation.

    Maintaining appropriate oral hygiene practices is an additional crucial step. It entails brushing and flossing twice daily, as well as routine dental checks and cleanings. This can lessen the risk of cavities and gum disease by preventing plaque and germs from growing.

    If you are experiencing symptoms of bruxism, your dentist may recommend a mouthguard. Additionally, your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing if you have gum disease. This is a deep cleaning procedure to remove plaque and tartar.




    Addressing stress can reduce the risk of developing oral health problems and maintain a healthy smile. Prioritizing your physical and mental health is important to ensure overall well-being. Remember, a healthy smile starts with a healthy mind and a stress-free life.

    For more oral health tips, visit The Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry at our Panama City Beach, Destin, or Navarre, Florida offices. Call 850-810-0600, 850-810-0300, or 850-409-6400 to schedule an appointment today.

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