Emotional Upset and Your Teeth

Emotional Upset and Your Teeth

How stress can adversely affect our oral health.

All of us have stress in our lives. Everybody gets stressed about something or other from time to time; personal issues, work overload, family problems – there’s always something to get stressed about isn’t there? It has long been documented that stress takes its toll on our physical health. It can make you irritable, tired, affect your memory, your sleep patterns and even put you at a higher risk of strokes or heart attacks.

When it is left to take its toll, it can also lead to even more serious mental health issues like depression. However, what you might not realise is that it can also have a big impact on your oral health.

Here are some of the ways your emotional health takes its toll on your teeth and gums:

Teeth Grinding

Grinding your teeth (bruxism) is something many people do as a habit when they are asleep. However, stress can also induce bruxism, making us clench our jaw and grind our teeth while we sleep. This activity can cause teeth to wear down, grinding away the enamel which then leaves teeth more susceptible to cavities. Bruxism can also make teeth more sensitive as the more delicate parts of the teeth are left exposed as grinding wears them down. Left to continue, bruxism may also cause permanent issues with the jaw.

If you think you grind your teeth at night, it is highly recommended that you talk to someone in the Abbey Road Dental team about it. As well as checking there are no oral issues caused by the grinding, we can also help by creating a mouth-guard which will protect your teeth at night. The sooner the issue is recognised, the sooner you can have a healthier mouth!

Gum Disease

Gum disease in its early stages can cause bleeding, soreness and other issues; most of which can be reversed with a great oral health regime and the support of your dentist or hygienist. Advanced gum disease is more serious and can cause receding gums, infections and even tooth loss and bone damage in extreme cases. Stress can make you more susceptible to gum disease because it lowers your immune system, making it more likely for you to succumb to many different types of infections.


Mouth ulcers are very sore and painful and can cause issues with eating, talking and drinking when they are present in the mouth. Although no direct connection between mouth ulcers and stress has been documented, it is commonly accepted that stress can contribute to the likelihood of getting them because we are more open to infection when our immune system is down, which it commonly is when we are stressed.

If you are feeling stressed, or find you are feeling run down because of a particularly hectic time in your life, please consider the following:

●     Improving your diet

●     Cutting back or quitting bad habits like smoking

●     Exercising more

●     Practicing mindfulness and meditation

●     Visiting your GP if things are getting too much for you to handle

In regards to your oral health and stress, we can help you manage any oral issues you get as a result of stress. From hygienists who have considerable experience with treating gum disease, to dentists who will happily discuss a personalised mouthguard to help with bruxism, our friendly St John’s Wood team has all of the skills and training to help you with your oral health when your emotional health isn’t tip top.

In all cases, be sure to maintain your oral health regime and visit us for your regular checkups, as this should ensure any potential issues are avoided or diagnosed and treated quickly. If you need to make an appointment at our local St John’s Wood clinic, please call us on 02076241603 and we will be more than happy to help.

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