How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

How Does Stress Affect Oral Health?

Stress is a normal reaction that happens in the body when it responds to change. Stress can be good or bad. Good stress, also known as eustress, can help you overcome challenges and achieve goals. Bad stress or distress can lead to health problems. 

Stress is your body’s reaction to a physical or emotional demand. Your body reacts to stress by giving you a rush of adrenaline, which prepares you to react quickly. Without getting too technical here, the end result of too much stress on the body can be heart disease and high blood pressure.

While those are some very serious health problems, they also have a direct impact on your oral health as well.

When the body is under constant stress, the sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive. This means the body releases a lot of hormones, such as cortisol. These hormones also trigger the salivary glands to release saliva, which in turn helps fight cavities by increasing the amount of protection there to protect our teeth. Too much stress can also affect the immune system’s ability to ward off infection, so it’s best to limit your stress as much as possible.

How Stress Affects Oral Health

People who experience high-stress levels often deal with a variety of physical side effects, such as tension headaches and exhaustion. The health of your teeth may also be affected. Here are some common stress-related oral health problems you may encounter during your life.

Gum Disease

When a person is stressed out, the body responds by releasing hormones that increase inflammation. When gum disease occurs and inflammation increases, gum tissues may become swollen and redder than usual. Additionally, the gums may start to bleed when you brush or floss them. If you neglect oral hygiene when experiencing stress-induced gingivitis, your gum disease may progress into periodontitis and eventually lead to tooth loss. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene, including flossing daily and brushing after meals, even when you aren’t feeling stressed. Your dentist may also recommend you use a special antibacterial mouthwash to help control the bacteria in your mouth that cause gum disease.

Teeth Grinding

People who are under high amounts of stress sometimes grind their teeth while they are sleeping. This habit is often called bruxism. If you have the condition, you might wake up in the morning with dull headaches and a sore jaw. Bruxism also causes damage to your teeth, making them more susceptible to chips and cracks. To prevent bruxism, take steps to reduce your stress levels. Additionally, talk to your dentist about using a mouth guard at night to protect your teeth from grinding while you sleep.


Many people associate bad breath with stinky foods like onions and garlic. However, if your breath smells bad all of the time, it could be due to stress and anxiety. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol cause an increase in saliva production, which can result in dry mouth. 

Schedule a consultation with our team by calling the Las Vegas Dental office at (702) 248-4448 or the Henderson Dental office at (702) 485-4777 to learn more about our dental services. We would be happy to help.


8940 W. Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89147

Phone: (702) 248-4448


  • MON - TUE9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • WED - THU8:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • FRI - SUNClosed
Contact Us

140 E. Horizon Dr., Suite C, Henderson, NV 89015

Phone: (702) 485-4777


  • MON - TUE9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • WED - THU7:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • FRI9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • SAT - SUNClosed
Contact Us