The Effects of Stress on Oral Health

Did you know that stress can have a significant impact on oral health?

Indirectly, it can lead to a series of dental problems and complications, from cavities to mouth cancer.

Understanding the complex relationship between stress and oral health is key to keeping a bright smile and staying in good health.

In this article, we’ll show you the main effects of stress on your oral health.


Stress can cause bruxism, that is teeth clenching and grinding, which often occurs unconsciously at night. It can lead to enamel erosion, jaw pain, headaches and excessive wear and tear.

Dry Mouth

Stress can reduce the amount of saliva produced by your salivary glands, which leads to a dry mouth. Saliva helps neutralize the acids produced by oral bacteria and helps wash away food debris. Therefore, producing less saliva not only causes bad breath, but can also increase the risk of cavities, gingivitis and other oral infections.

Mouth Sores

Stress reduces our immune defences and makes us more vulnerable to oral and viral infections, including the ones common to the mouth area. As a consequence, stress can cause or increase the appearance of canker sores, which are painful ulcers inside the mouth. It can also cause cold sores, which are painful and unattractive, and thrush, which manifests as white patches on the tongue, palate, throat and the inside of the cheeks.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Under the effect of stress, your dental hygiene habits may suffer. You might end up skipping dental floss, neglecting the proper brushing techniques and overlooking regular visits at the dentist, which increases the risk of cavities and gum diseases.

Consumption of Harmful Substances

Stress can lead you to increase your consumption of unhealthy substances, like tobacco, alcohol and foods that are rich in acids and sugars. The consequences of smoking on oral health are many: bad health, yellow teeth, periodontal diseases, tooth loss, decreased effectiveness of dental care and increased risk of lung and mouth cancer. As for the acidity inside the mouth due to the consumption of certain types of foods, it contributes to enamel erosion and the development of cavities.

A Few Tips to Manage Stress and Have Better Oral Health

As you now know, stress management is very important for your oral health.

Here are some strategies to help you reduce stress in your everyday life and maintain a healthy mouth.

Practise Relaxation Techniques 

Yoga, meditation and deep breathing can help you reduce stress.

Eat Healthy

Avoid foods with high sugar and starch contents and opt instead for a balanced diet that’s rich in dairy products, proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Limit Your Consumption of Stimulants

Caffeine and nicotine lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure. They also make your muscles more tense and reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain, which in turn contributes to increased stress.

Take Breaks

If you feel stressed, take a break to relax and refocus. It can help you reduce any tensions in your body and in your jaw.


Physical activity is an efficient solution against stress. A simple extended walk can help reduce anxiety, lower your blood pressure, help regulate your stress hormones and improve your mood.

Get Enough Sleep

Your body needs to sleep. Don’t neglect your hours of sleep to do other activities. Remember that sleep is necessary to help you feel rested and relaxed.

Adopt Good Oral Hygiene Habits

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss regularly and use a mouthwash if necessary. Taking care of your oral hygiene provides a feeling of control and discipline, and reinforces your self-confidence, which can also help reduce stress.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Regular visits at your dentist will allow you to quickly detect and treat oral health issues, and above all, prevent any problems before they occur. You’ll avoid the stress and other inconveniences caused by these complications.

For a routine exam or any other treatment, make an appointment at the Boucherville Dental & Implantology Centre. Our professional team will be happy to help you.

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