How Does Stress Affect Your Oral Health?

General & Cosmetic Dentists Serving Omaha, Bellevue, Lincoln and Nearby Nebraska

Posted: September 29, 2020

Woman stressed out while kids run around at home It’s well understood that stress takes a toll on your physical and emotional wellbeing. But did you know that it can also be bad for your teeth, gums, and mouth? Keep reading to learn how stress can affect your oral health and get tips for protecting your smile.

Stress-Related Oral Health Conditions

There’s nothing wrong with feeling a little stressed out now and then. However, long-term stress may contribute to a variety of oral health problems, including:

  • Tooth grinding: Involuntary tooth grinding or clenching can happen during the day, particularly when you’re concentrating, or at night while you sleep. This behavior is called bruxism, and it can lead to headaches, jaw soreness, and tooth wear. In severe cases, it can cause teeth to crack or break.
  • Jaw issues: Stress is a significant cause of TMJ problems. TMJ disorder affects the joints just below your ears and causes symptoms such as pain, clicking, popping, tinnitus, and chronic headaches.
  • Gum disease: Stress can increase inflammation and lower your body’s ability to fight infections. These factors raise your risk of getting gum disease or periodontitis. Gum disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, problems chewing, and tooth loss.
  • Oral infections or sores: Outbreaks of cold sores, canker sores, and other painful mouth wounds are often linked to stress. Be on the lookout for ulcers, white or red spots, or white lines in your mouth.

Stress can also change your habits for the worse. You may find yourself biting your nails, snacking on sugary foods and drinks, and forgetting to keep up with your dental hygiene routine. These behaviors won’t do your oral health any favors.

Stress-Proof Your Smile

Taking steps to reduce your stress will go a long way towards protecting your oral health. We understand that’s easier said than done. You can also make an appointment with our dentists to find relief from uncomfortable oral symptoms.

You may benefit from a custom-fitted nightguard if you grind your teeth. It will protect your teeth from damage and can act as a cushion to relieve stress on your jaw. Or you could need gum disease treatment. Whatever your situation may be, our dentists will help you get your oral health back on track.

Schedule an Appointment in Omaha

To learn more or to schedule your next appointment, please call one of our four Omaha locations: Hillsborough, 402-445-4647; Ralston, 402-733-4441; Village Pointe, 402-505-7474; or Dundee: 402-502-5593.