Stress

6 Ways Stress Affects Your Teeth and Gums

Deteriorating oral health is frequently related to anxiety and stress.

Posted Mar 25, 2019

Everyone knows that stress negatively affects your mental health, but did you know that stress also damages your teeth and gums? Research has shown that there is a connection between long-term stress and deteriorating oral health.

I sat down with Asma Khan, a writer with a passion for health care and educating readers on how to live healthier and happier lives. Here’s what she had to say.

All the top dentists in San Antonio include stress as a cause of damaged teeth and gums. The most prevalent stress-related oral problems are:

  • Nail-biting
  • Canker sores
  • Burning mouth
  • TMJ disorder
  • Teeth-grinding
  • Gum problems

Nail-Biting

Though many people bite their nails in stressful situations, this bad habit can have serious consequences such as:

  • Germs transferred from your nails to your mouth can lead to mouth infections.
  • The bacteria or viruses found on your hands may transmit to the rest of your body.
  • Warts may spread from your hands to your mouth.

Canker Sores In Mouth

If you suffer from occasional attacks of painful mouth ulcers, these frequently develop due to Vitamin B deficiency and extreme levels of stress. Other causes include hormonal imbalance, sensitivity to sodium lauryl sulfate (a foaming agent found in many commercial toothpaste brands) and allergic reactions to mouth bacteria.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Stress can also cause burning mouth syndrome, a painful disease that damages your gums and teeth. Though many women suffer from this disease, smoking and drinking exacerbate conditions.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ, or Temporomandibular joint syndrome, results in stiffness, swelling, pain, and popping in the lower jaw just below the ears. Such overuse of jaw muscles causes teeth clenching and grinding which damages your teeth.

Severe Teeth Grinding

Clenching your teeth at night while you sleep can result in some serious consequences such as sleeping disorders, chronic jaw pain, broken or lose teeth, and severe headaches.

Gum Infection

Long-term stress attacks and weakens the ability of your body to fight infections and can result in infections that cause decayed teeth, bad breath, and bleeding gums. These infections weaken the body's immunity system and allow harmful bacteria to spread. If your gums are inflamed, consult with a dentist as soon as possible. 

Chronic stress is commonly associated with anxiety disorders. Learn more about anxiety disorders here.