Can Stress Ruin Your Teeth?

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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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Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2017
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


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