Can Stress Affect Your Oral Health?

Posted by Ami Desai DDS on May 10 2023, 08:00 PM

Stress is a normal part of life. It can be caused by both good and bad things. Stress can be physical, emotional, or psychological. Most people experience stress at some point in their lives. Stress affects everyone differently. Some people may eat more under stress. For others, stress may cause them to grind their teeth. Stress can even cause you to lose sleep, which can weaken your immune system and make you more likely to get sick.

What Causes Stress

There are a variety of different factors that can cause stress, including work, school, family obligations, and even financial strains. No matter what is causing your stress, it can affect your oral health because it can change the body’s hormone levels.

When the body is under stress, the pituitary gland releases endorphins and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones are what help your body respond to stress. However, when there are too many of these hormones in the blood, they can cause problems in the body, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. This can also affect your saliva production, which can result in dry mouth. A dry mouth can lead to a number of oral health issues, such as cavities and tooth decay.

Excess stress can also lead to teeth grinding and clenching. These actions can cause chips or cracks in your teeth and even lead to a TMJ disorder, which can cause headaches. A dentist can help you determine the cause of your discomfort and help you find the appropriate treatment to relieve your pain.

Other causes of stress include smoking, pregnancy, and depression. All of these factors can have a negative effect on your oral health and should be discussed with your dentist.

How Stress Affects Oral Health

Stress can take a toll on your overall health, and your oral health is no exception. When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormonal changes can cause dry mouth and other symptoms of gum disease. They can also cause you to grind your teeth or clench your jaw, which wears down tooth enamel and causes more stress for your teeth and gums. You can feel the effects of stress on your health almost instantly. You’ll likely notice things like an inability to concentrate and headaches. Long-term stress also takes a toll on overall well-being, including an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. You don’t need to eliminate all sources of stress in your life to ensure that your health isn’t affected. Instead, practice good stress management by scheduling time for yourself to relax each day. You can also find ways to reduce stress triggers in your daily life. For example, if driving through rush hour traffic every day causes you to stress, consider carpooling or taking public transportation instead. If you’re experiencing some symptoms of stress-related oral health issues like dry mouth, schedule an appointment with your dentist for an evaluation and treatment recommendations.

To learn more or to schedule your appointments with Ami Desai, D.D.S., please call (408) 946-0777 or visit our office at 440 E Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035. For more information, please contact us at 

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Ami Desai, D.D.S.

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