Dr. Edward Shluper, DDS | Mountain Lakes, NJ


Stress is an inevitable part of our lives. Stress affects the body in many ways, including oral health. Stress can cause teeth grinding (bruxism) and jaw clenching, which can weaken your jaw muscles. It can also make you neglect your oral health, which can result in serious dental issues.

What Causes Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and many people experience it on a regular basis. While a little pressure at work or in social situations is normal, ongoing stress can wreak havoc on your oral health. You may experience tooth sensitivity, dry mouth, grinding, and even gum disease if stress isn’t controlled. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to take a look at your stress and find ways to ease it so that you can enjoy a healthy smile.

  • Chronic stress wears down your immune system, leaving your body more susceptible to illnesses like the common cold or flu. Stress can also weaken your bones and muscles, leading to osteoporosis and other age-related injuries. It can also increase your blood pressure, making it more difficult for you to keep your heart healthy as you age.
  • Stress can cause muscle tension and pain in your jaw, head, neck, shoulders, and back. Over time, this can lead to chronic headaches or even migraines.
  • Most people turn to comfort foods when they are feeling stressed. Unfortunately, foods high in sugar and fat are damaging to your teeth, leading to tooth decay and an increased risk of periodontal disease. Plus, foods that are bad for your waistline are bad for your mouth. As obesity is now linked to many oral health problems, it’s important to keep your weight under control.
  • Stress can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night, leaving you tired and groggy the next day. You can also experience difficulty concentrating at work, which can lead to performance problems at work and poor job evaluations. You may also be late for work more often as a result of being sleep deprived.
  • Stress can lead to unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not exercising enough. All of these behaviors have an impact on your health, causing everything from high blood pressure to heart disease and cancer.

Oral Health Problems Caused by Stress

Whether you have an anxiety or panic disorder, have family or personal problems, or are dealing with other stressors in your life, they may take a toll on your oral health. You may put your own needs aside and neglect your oral hygiene routine when you’re stressed. Or you may turn to alcohol or tobacco to relieve your feelings of helplessness and depression. All of these actions can lead to cavities, gum disease, and other serious issues with your mouth.

If you struggle with stress and anxiety, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional. With therapy and support, you can learn to manage your stress and feel better overall. Talk to your dentist about how stress is affecting your oral health so you can create a plan to improve your habits.

Edward Shluper DDS, located at Mountain Lakes, NJ, is equipped with expert dentists and modern technologies that enable the best dental care facilities for patients. Dial (973) 743-5432 and schedule a consultation with the dentist.

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