Can Stress Ruin Your Teeth?

Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2017

Ask the experts

How does long-term chronic stress affect oral health?

Doctor's response

Chronic stress can have many significant effects on oral health. Emotional stress is believed to be related to the practice of tooth grinding (bruxism) that can lead to damaged teeth, jaw or facial pain, and headaches. Stress is also associated with an increased susceptibility to infections, including infections of the gum tissue, known as periodontitis. Aphthous ulcers (canker sores), dry mouth, Lichen planus, burning mouth syndrome, and temporomandibular joint disorders were also identified in a study of oral health conditions that are worsened during times of emotional disturbance.

Finally, people under stress are also more likely to ignore personal hygiene practices and to engage in destructive behaviors such as smoking and alcohol abuse, all of which can have negative effects on oral health.

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Oral and systemic health"