Stress and Dental Pain


It would be magical thinking to say that this year has not served up a super dose of stress in one or more ways. As we approach the end of 2020, it seemed fitting to say a few words about the ways in which stress can affect our mouths, teeth, and jaws. See if any of these signs and symptoms are familiar, then let us know. We are here to help!

Stress can play an active or secondary role in dental problems. It is important to identify any issues that contribute to poor oral health; otherwise, treatment may be ineffective. Recurring problems, such as TMJ and bruxism (teeth grinding), have a root cause. Failure to address these underlying factors will result in infected, decaying, cracked, or broken teeth.

Oral Infections

Stress is known to have an active impact on the immune system, making it easier for infections to take hold. There are several ways that stress can lead to oral infections of the gums or teeth. Infections brought on by stress can attack the teeth and develop into a severe condition that may result in tooth loss. A compromised immune system makes it harder for the body to fight harmful bacteria or viruses. People who suffer from stress are often nail-biters, which increases the risk of bacteria and viruses being transferred from the hands to the mouth.

Stress-Induced Canker Sores

If you are deficient in vitamin B, you may frequently suffer from canker sores in the mouth. However, stress or hormonal imbalances are other possible causes. Treating the underlying wellness issues that cause canker sores is essential.


Bruxism is the correct term for teeth grinding, a condition that typically occurs during sleep. Unless sufferers are alerted to the situation by a partner or family member, symptoms may go unnoticed. If you wake up with a sore jaw or notice that your back teeth are wearing down, it may indicate severe teeth grinding.

TMJ Disorders

When the muscles in or around the jaw are tense, it can result in pain, discomfort, or the jaw popping. Stress is one of the common contributing factors in TMJ disorders. The Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge where the jaw meets the skull. As such, this joint affects speech, eating, and drinking. State-of-the-art x-ray procedures can identify TMJ issues. That is the first step in recovery.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Women are more likely to suffer from burning mouth syndrome than men. Stress, smoking, and drinking alcohol are common contributing factors in the development of the disease. Damage to the teeth and gums can occur in severe cases, resulting in the need for extensive dental restoration. Symptoms include loss or change in taste, a burning sensation in the mouth, and increased thirst.

Dental Treatment and Stress

Working with a dentist who specializes in the treatment of stress-related dental issues is recommended. A two-pronged approach to your treatment plan will help to eliminate stress and reinforce oral health. Resolving dental problems alone is a temporary fix when underlying stress factors continue to impact the teeth and gums.

If you would like further information or advice on stress and dental health, Nishan Halim DMD offices can help. Understanding how and why gum and teeth problems develop is essential in supporting excellence in oral health and overall well-being. 

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