Stress can have many negative effects on your body. Your oral health is no exception. The connection between stress and your oral health is clear. Stress can weaken your immune system, leaving you more at risk for infection. Stress can affect you in following ways:

Clenching/ Grinding Teeth

When you clench your teeth, you cause a chain reaction of problems for your oral and overall health. This habit puts stress on your entire jaw and neck area. The pressure caused by clenching can lead to tooth chipping or cracking. You can also experience headaches and migraines as added side effects of this habit. It is important to visit your dentist to determine the best course of action if you grind your teeth at night. In some cases, you may need to wear a protective mouth guard while you sleep to prevent damage to your teeth.

Sleep Deprivation

If you are like most people, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep. Sleep is essential for your health, including your oral health. When you wake up, your mouth is still at night. This can allow bacteria to fester and cause cavities. In addition to giving you energy, sleeping also gives you time to heal, which can prevent infection.

Some studies even show that sleep disorders increase your risk of gum disease. This is because your immune system is compromised and can’t fight infections as well as it normally would.

When your body is under stress, you are likely to clench your jaw or grind your teeth at night. This can weaken your tooth enamel and lead to chips and cracks. Over time, this will only increase tooth decay risks.

When you are stressed, you are at a higher risk for oral injuries such as cuts and lip sores. These can become infected easily, leading to more stress on your body and more stress brushing around those sore areas.

Diet and Nutrition

When we experience stress, we tend to reach for unhealthy options to help us cope — like sugary snacks or comfort foods. Unfortunately, this can lead to oral health issues like cavities and gum disease. Eating well can help you combat the effects of stress and eat healthier in general. Aim for a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy items, and water. Avoid foods high in sugar like soda, candy, cookies, and similar treats. You should also avoid alcohol as it can exacerbate existing issues in your mouth. Consider adding vitamins to your diet as well to boost your overall health. Some great options for boosting your vitamin intake include fish, eggs, milk, cheese, citrus fruits, and dark leafy greens like spinach. You can also talk to your dentist about other Vitamins you might want help with.


Some people tend to smoke more when they are stressed. Tobacco use causes many oral problems that can lead to tooth loss. Tooth loss is one of the most common consequences of tobacco use due to gum disease, staining, and infections. Smokers are more likely to have red or swollen gums that bleed easily when brushing and flossing. Cigarette smoke also irritates the gum tissues and can make them recede. When tobacco users continue to expose their smile to additional plaque accumulation and bacteria, tooth decay is also common. A large percentage of smokers over the age of 35 also have periodontal bone loss. This loss of bone structure can lead to teeth becoming loose and eventually falling out.

To learn more, contact Sina Malekuti DDS, PC, at 6120 Brandon Ave Suite 303, Springfield, VA 22150, or call (703) 451-3211.

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