Can Stress Affect Your Smile? Yes!

Dental Health

3 Ways Stress Can Harm Your Teeth

Stress can be such a bully sometimes!

It picks on you relentlessly and, if you’re not vigilant, will affect your health with concerns like insomnia, mood swings, irritability, headaches, stomach trouble — well, you name it. The numerous ways that stress affects our physical and emotional health are well known.

And with the challenges we’ve all faced these past few years — jobs, families, finances, pandemic, our changing world — there’s almost no way to avoid it.

Stress can affect oral health too. Sometimes neglected or pushed to the bottom of your to-do list, taking care of your teeth is especially important when circumstances are overwhelming. Here are a few harmful habits you may be familiar with.

  1. You might clench your teeth when you get anxious, angry, or stressed. While clenching and grinding your teeth (also known as bruxism) won’t necessarily cause serious complications, the constant pressure can wear down, break, or crack teeth. You may experience jaw pain or headaches.

  3. When you’re stressed, you may let your guard down and neglect your daily oral health routine — perhaps not brushing and flossing as frequently as you should. While that may ease the stress of a hectic schedule, neglecting your teeth can ultimately lead to bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay.

  5. No judgement here, but sometimes stress leads to poor lifestyle choices. Smoking, drinking, and binge-eating sugary treats may help us feel good at the moment, but often lead to chronic health issues long term.

Changing the Pattern

Even though stress is a natural response, coping can be difficult and lonely. The Centers for Disease Control offers suggestions for taking care of your emotional health during stressful times; if you’re stressed, worried, or grieving, please take a moment to review.

Getting back into the habit of good oral care might take some time, and besides brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings, there are other things you can do to create a brighter, healthier smile.

  • If worn or cracked teeth are bothersome, crowns and veneers will correct the imperfections of worn or damaged teeth.
  • Teeth whitening services are another option for teeth stained by tobacco or beverages such as coffee, wine, or cola.

San Mateo Center for Cosmetic Dentistry was designed with patient comfort in mind, and we offer IV sedation dentistry to help alleviate the jitters. You’ll also find movies, headphones, warm neck pillows, and warm towels to help you relax.

Can stress affect your smile? Absolutely. There is always hope, though, and we offer solutions to help you maintain a cheerful, white smile — even when times are tough.