How does stress affect oral health?


The impact prolonged stress has on our body and wellbeing is sometimes most clear in our dental health.

From teeth grinding to dry mouth, there are a number of signs that may indicate that stress is having a negative effect on your oral health.

Gum disease

Stress can impact the immune system and contribute to gum disease, also known as gingivitis. 

If left untreated, this can lead to advanced gum disease and even tooth loss.
It is vital that one establishes a regular and effective dental regime to help maintain our oral health. 

This is achieved by regularly cleaning between the teeth using interdental brushes or floss and brushing your teeth twice a day. 


Known as bruxism, teeth clenching or grinding typically happens when you are asleep and can be a key indicator of stress.

Teeth grinding leads to heightened tooth sensitivity, flattened tips, chips or even sharp edges on the teeth. If the grinding is particularly severe, it can also lead to tooth loss.

A dental professional can offer practical advice and possible treatment options such as eliminating stress-relating factors. 

Dry mouth 

Dry mouth occurs when salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva – and stress is a key cause.

Saliva is key to good oral hygiene. It cleanses the mouth, reduces bacteria, and prevents plaque from building up on the teeth. If a mouth is dry, however, teeth become more vulnerable to decay and susceptible to infection.
If you suffer from dry mouth, choose a toothbrush with soft, gentle filaments. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily and use floss or interdental brushes.

It can also help to drink water often, avoid acidic food and stay away from tobacco.  Chewing on sugar-free gum can help you to stay in control of symptoms at home. 

Tooth decay

Tooth decay and stress are undeniably linked. Severe stress can lead to a number of lifestyle changes – including a neglected mouth – and these can create an environment for tooth decay. 
Many people may also find that they consume alcohol or foods with a higher sugar content when they are stressed. Both of these significantly harm the protective enamel on our teeth. Stress can also make us forget to brush for two minutes, twice a day – or even at all. 
If you have any, visit your dentist and hygienist regularly for advice and information.

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