Elmhurst Dentist Explains How Stress and Anxiety May Harm Your Oral Health

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on Nov 14, 2012

Your mouth is affected by your daily life—obviously by the foods and drinks you consume, but also by the way you’re feeling in general. If you’re under stress or experiencing anxiety, you may notice some changes to your dental health. Sound surprising? Read on for more information…

Our Elmhurst dentist office meets patients frequently who come in noticing chronic bad breath and increased plaque build-up. They’re still taking care of their teeth, so what’s happening? Well, often the culprit is increased anxiety. When your body feels stressed and under attack, your immunity defenses are lowered.

Research also shows that increased stress—even short periods—can actually increase the amount of plaque that build ups in your mouth. If you’re feeling worn down, take extra care to clean your teeth thoroughly twice a day—make sure to brush and don’t forget to floss! You can also add a mouthwash into your routine if you need extra bacteria-fighting and breath-freshening power. Obviously, it’s also a good idea to work with your dentist to find dental solutions that work for you even in times of stress.

There’s one other dental problem that you should stay alert for—that’s bruxism. Bruxism is characterized by dental grinding and clenching. You may find that you carry more stress in your jaw and your neck when you’re stressed. This can lead to you grinding your teeth together, even as you sleep. Over time this can weaken teeth and damage oral tissues, so if you notice this habit, seek treatment.

While no one can completely avoid stress, our Elmhurst dentist office can help you avoid dental problems associated with anxiety. Stay alert for changes to your dental health, and give us a call if you’d like more information or to schedule a consultation with our dental team.