April marks Stress Awareness Month, which means it’s an important time to reflect on how stress impacts our lives, including our oral health. During dental checkups we regularly see firsthand the correlation between stress and dental issues, from teeth grinding to gum disease. We’ll discuss some of the effects of stress on oral health and share practical strategies to maintain a healthy level of stress, which leads to a healthier smile.


The Impact of Stress on Oral Health

The impacts of stress on oral health can be seen in multiple ways. Here are some common dental problems exacerbated by stress:

  1. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Stress frequently manifests as tension, which leads many people to unconsciously grind or clench their teeth, especially during sleep. Teeth grinding can result in worn enamel, tooth fractures, and even jaw pain.
  2. Gum Disease: Chronic stress leads to a weaker immune system, which makes it harder for the body to fight off bacteria. Individuals under prolonged stress are more susceptible to gum disease, characterized by inflammation, bleeding gums, and eventually, tooth loss if the gum disease and other issues aren’t treated properly.
  3. Poor Oral Hygiene: When stressed, self-care routines, including oral hygiene practices, often go on a back burner. When you skip brushing and flossing, this can lead to cavities, plaque buildup, and other dental issues.


Managing Stress for Health

  1. Use Relaxation Techniques: Include stress-relief activities into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. These practices both promote overall wellbeing and reduce tension in the jaw muscles to alleviate bruxism.
  2. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep are foundational for managing stress and supporting oral health. Nutrient-rich foods nourish your teeth and gums, while physical activity helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol.
  3. Establish Consistent Oral Care Habits: Even when life gets hectic, prioritize your health by sticking to a consistent brushing and flossing routine. Set reminders if needed to be sure you’re brushing and flossing regularly.


If you’re experiencing dental issues related to stress, please reach out to our team. We’re happy to provide personalized guidance as well as recommend treatment options such as bite guards for bruxism.

Stress is a normal part of our lives, and managing stress effectively has a giant effect on both our oral health and our overall health. This Stress Awareness Month, focus on ways to manage stress to keep your brain and smile happy and healthy for years to come.