The Effects of Stress on Oral Health

The effects of stress on oral health

Stress is an integral part of modern life. Busy daily life, professional and family commitments, financial difficulties, worries and fears can lead to high levels of stress, drastically affecting our physical and mental health.

Many people are unaware of the effects of stress on their oral health.

But how does stress affect our mouth?

1. Roaring and clenching of teeth:

During intense stress, we unconsciously put pressure on our teeth by clenching or grinding them together. This habit, known as growling, can lead to:

  • Tooth decay: The enamel, the protective layer of the teeth, gradually wears away, leaving them vulnerable to decay.
  • Fractured teeth: In extreme cases, intense pressure can cause cracks or even fractures in the teeth.
  • Pain in the muscles of the mouth and jaw: Clenched teeth can create tension in the facial muscles, leading to headaches, earaches and difficulty chewing.

2. Dry mouth:

Stress affects saliva production, leading to dry mouth. Dryness in the mouth:

  • Increases the risk of tooth decay: Saliva neutralises the acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, protecting teeth from decay.
  • Causes odour: The lack of saliva allows bacteria to multiply uncontrollably, creating an unpleasant odour.
  • It affects speech and swallowing: Dry mouth can make it difficult to speak and swallow food.

3. Moth ulcers:

Stress can trigger the appearance of flabby, small painful ulcers in the mouth.

4. Gingivitis:

Dry mouth, combined with poor oral hygiene that can be caused by stress, increases the risk of gingivitis. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can develop into periodontitis, a serious disease that leads to tooth loss.


How to deal with the effects of stress on oral health:

  • Stress management:

    • Adopting relaxation techniques, such as exercise, meditation or yoga, can help reduce stress and thus protect oral health.
    • Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and avoiding bad habits such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol can also help reduce stress.
  • Daily care:

    • Thorough oral hygiene, with brushing and flossing twice a day, is essential to prevent problems.
    • The use of a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, as well as regular use of an antiseptic mouthwash, can enhance protection.
  • Frequent visits to the dentist:

    • Regular check-ups by the dentist, at least every six months, are essential for early diagnosis and treatment of any stress-related problems.
    • Your dentist can help you identify and address any stress-related habits, such as grinding, and suggest ways to protect your teeth.

Additional tips:

  • Chew sugarless chewing gum: Chewing sugarless chewing gum can increase saliva production and help prevent dry mouth.
  • Drink plenty of water: Hydration is important for the prevention of dry mouth and for the good health of teeth and gums.
  • Tell your dentist: Tell your dentist about your stress level and any symptoms that may be associated with it, such as growling or dry mouth.


Managing stress and adopting healthy habits can help prevent and treat problems associated with oral health stress.