How Failing Emotional Health Can Take Its Toll On Oral Health

How Failing Emotional Health Can Take Its Toll On Oral Health

Stress and anxiety and how it can affect teeth and gums.

Your emotional health is important in relation to your overall physical health. Emotional issues can cause headaches, insomnia, aches and pains, increased risk of heart problems, and a plethora of other physical problems, including issues with your oral health.

If you are stressed regularly you probably already know how much of a toll it takes on your body, but you might not know about other common issues it causes with your mouth. So here are some key oral issues your emotional issues can cause, so you can be aware:

Grinding Your Teeth

Some people grind their teeth at night anyway, but stress can be the cause, or it can exacerbate the problem. Grinding your teeth at night is really bad for them, and even clenching your jaw without noticing can be bad for your oral health. Clenching your jaw regularly may cause issues with the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), the joint which connects your jaw to your skull. This joint is one of the most complex in the body and is almost always being used, so any additional stress or strain can cause problems. Grinding your teeth can also affect that joint, as well as your teeth. Prolonged grinding can also cause your tooth enamel to get worn down, making you more susceptible to sensitive teeth, or even tooth decay.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is avoidable with a good oral care routine (in most cases), however, the bacteria that cause the disease stand more of a chance of getting into the body if your immune system is depleted. Studies show that when we are stressed, our immune system isn’t as strong as it could be, which makes us more susceptible to gum disease. If we have emotional issues that are overwhelming, we might also be less likely to maintain a good oral health routine, which also makes us more susceptible to gum disease. Gum disease can cause soreness, gum bleeding, and at later stages, receding gums and even tooth loss.


Mouth ulcers are sore, painful and can cause issues with eating and drinking. Although it isn’t proven, it is thought a low immune system (which can be caused by emotional issues) can cause ulcers. Emotional issues like stress might also make us more susceptible to ulcers.

What You Can Do About It

First and foremost, if you are finding emotional issues are overwhelming, go and see your GP. They can talk through the issues with you and discuss appropriate treatment options. If you are finding you are simply more stressed than usual, then there are various things you can do to minimise those stress levels including:

●      Minimising the sources of stress if you can

●      Eating healthy food and exercising

●      Getting plenty of sleep

●      Avoiding bad habits like smoking, which can make you feel more run down

●      Enjoying and practicing activities that help you deal with stress better, like meditation and mindfulness

●      Taking a holiday – sometimes we all need a break!

If you do think stress is taking a toll on your body, and you think you could be grinding your teeth at night, make an appointment with us at our Egham dentist. We can create a personalised mouth guard for you that will help protect your teeth at night. If you think you have signs of gum disease, one of our Egham dentists or dental hygienists will be able to help you manage or possibly reverse it with an improved oral health routine. If it is more advanced, we may need to discuss a more detailed treatment plan. Please call us on 01784432641 and a friendly member of staff from our clinic based in TW20 will be more than happy to help. We’re here to help you!

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