Blue Monday – how stress can impact your oral health


With Monday 17 January earmarked as Blue Monday, many across the country may be experiencing signs of low mood, anxiety and depression.

What many may not know is that poor mental health can have a significant impact on your oral health. 

Dr Khaled Kasem, the chief of orthodontists at Impress, reveals all on combatting oral problems:


Also know as teeth grinding, when your body is under stress it reacts in may ways. The added tension that stress puts on your muscles can also lead to involuntary teeth clenching or grinding.

Often, it happens overnight when the rest of the body is relaxed and sleeping. Mild cases might not require treatment. However frequent clenching could lead to severe jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth, and a whole host of other problems.

What are some common signs. Sharp and flattened edges to your teeth, consistent ear pain, or unexplained facial aches, according to Dr Kasem.

Nail biting

Biting nails may appear relatively harmless but it can have serious consequences on your mouth. Germs, for example, can easily transfer from your hands, causing oral infections and allowing other bacteria to enter the body.

To avoid, keep your nails trimmed short. There are also products available, such as bitter-tasting nail polish, that work to discourage the habit. However these are only quick fixes – seek help if you need to. 

Dry mouth

Also known as xerostomia, it occurs when you fail to produce enough saliva. Research has suggested that anxiety, stress and depression decrease the production of saliva. It can leave your mouth feeling parched, especially at night.
Tops tips include drinking plenty of water and making sure your mouthwash contains no alcohol. If your xerostomia occurs beyond stressful periods, be sure to talk to your dentist about specific solutions and preventive measures.

Dental phobia

A fear of the dentist is extremely common. Many people develop anxiety about visiting the dentist but neglecting your dental health can result in serious complications later down the line. It’s best not to avoid the dentist if possible.
Dr Kasem adds: 'Try to stick to two appointments per year, this will ensure that any warning signs are detected early and will prevent the need for any needles or drilling altogether!'

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