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The Effects of Stress on Oral Health

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Stress and anxiety undoubtedly play a role on overall health and the potential fallout can leave a lasting impact on teeth and gums. Health professionals routinely diagnose systemic and oral conditions that develop due to the life-style choices their patients make. Stress and anxiety can lead to poor lifestyle choices which can adversely affect oral health. Managing stress is therefore one important factor in order to maintain good oral health.

Oral Hygiene

Although it is difficult to pinpoint the negative effects of stress on teeth and the gingiva, the more simple explanation is that stress may make people less attentive to their oral hygiene practices.

Alcohol, Smoking and Diet

Many people have turned to food, smoking and alcohol as coping mechanisms to soothe, comfort and escape during times of stress.

Grinding/Clenching (“Bruxism”)

Bruxism is characterized by the grinding and clenching of teeth, and it is often related to stress. The effects include fractures and attrition of enamel and restorations, tooth sensitivity, facial muscle soreness, headaches and migraines

Jaw or Ear Pain

People who grind and clench their teeth can develop Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which affects the joint and surrounding muscles that allow us to chew, swallow and speak. Symptoms of TMD includes pain and sensitivity in the ear, the joints and muscles of the jaw, the face or the temples.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is the most common dental problem among adults. It has been shown that prolonged stress affects the immune system and increases the risk of infection, which in turn, can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis. also, during periods of major stress, we tend to neglect certain parts of our healthy lifestyle, such as proper nutrition and oral hygiene, which are important factors in preventing gum disease.

Dry Mouth

Medications used to reduce stress can sometimes cause your mouth to become dry, resulting in a condition known as xerostomia. Maintaining sufficient flow of saliva is essential as saliva helps to eliminate and neutralize the harmful effects of sugar and acids, which can lead to oral disease.

Oral Ulcers

Stress can also manifest itself through the appearance of oral ulcers. although the cause of ulcers is not fully understood, specialists agree that stress, fatigue and allergies may increase the likelihood of developing oral ulcers.


How can you combat the effects of stress?

Although it is impossible to completely eliminate stress from our lives, it is important to find strategies to manage its effects. First, pay particular attention to oral hygiene by brushing twice per day and using floss daily. Also do not try to control your stress by smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, because these activities will harm your health. Instead, try to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get a good night’s sleep.

Finally, see your dentist regularly and tell them of any changes in your life. Remember, only your Dentist has the knowledge, training and expertise to help you achieve optimal oral health, thereby reducing the effects of stress.


Westmount Dental offers appointments throughout the week including evenings, Saturdays and Sundays (by appointment as days and times vary). We always welcome new patients, emergencies and offer free consultations. And we rely on your referrals for our growth.

Our Dentists provide a full range of treatment all under one roof to minimize the need for outside referrals. Some of the treatment we provide includes the full service and placement of dental implants, root canal therapy, wisdom tooth surgery, sedation, invisalign orthodontics, and cosmetic treatments. Most importantly, our preventive dental care program aims to reduce the risk of you and your family requiring more invasive and costly treatment.

Westmount Dental is located in the heart of Thornhill in Vaughan. Call today to schedule your appointment. 905-881-8284.

About the Author
Dr. Mark Buzaglo is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario where he completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree, receiving the Pierre Fauchard Academy Award for outstanding academic achievement. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours. Dr. Buzaglo is an avid believer in ongoing continuing education and has completed many certified courses in all aspects of dentistry with particular focus in the fields of Cosmetic, Invisalign Orthodontics, and Implant Dentistry. He is a contributing writer and editor for the oral health programs at and, Canada’s foremost on-line continuing medical education websites for Medical Doctors in Canada. Dr. Buzaglo has a creative passion that is evident throughout your experience in his office, Westmount Dental. He has personally designed the layout and features of the office to provide an esthetic appeal to the flow of the working space. His creative ability is truly reflected in the dental treatment he provides to his patients.

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