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6 Ways Stress Negatively Affects Your Teeth and Gums

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6 Ways Stress Negatively Affects Your Teeth and Gums

Stress is an important part of survival, but too much can have a negative impact on your health. If you’re feeling stressed too much, you can eventually have a weaker immune system, high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, and even heart disease. Stress is also a cause of damaged teeth and gums. Your dentist in Valparaiso shares 6 ways that stress is detrimental for your smile. Give us a call today at (219) 322-9920.

Canker Sores

If you notice that you get occasional painful mouth ulcers, also known as cankers, then you should know that stress is a common reason for them to occur. Other causes include Vitamin B deficiency, hormone imbalance, sodium lauryl sulfate sensitivity, and allergic reactions to mouth bacteria.

Teeth Grinding

The reason that many people suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding, is because of stress. It often takes place while sleeping. Grinding can lead to chronic jaw pain, broken or damaged teeth, sleeping disorders, and headaches. A common solution is a night guard for teeth grinding.

Nail Biting

This is a common habit in response to stressful situations. Even though it may not seem so serious, constantly chewing on your fingernails can lead to serious consequences like damage to the surface of the teeth, spreading germs from your hands to your mouth, and infection in and on the skin around your nails. To stop biting your nails, try using a bitter tasting polish, cut them short, or treat yourself to a manicure.

Gum Infection

Long-term stress can actually weaken your body’s immune system. You won’t be as able to fight off infections that cause decayed teeth, bad breath, and bleeding gums. If you have inflamed gums, you should contact your dentist as soon as you can.


Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) causes stiffness, pain, swelling, and popping in the lower jaw below your ears. When you’re stressed and respond by clenching or grinding your teeth, you could end up with this common condition.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

This condition is painful and complex. It’s often described as a burning, scalding, or tingling feeling in the mouth. It can also be accompanied with dry mouth, increased thirst, loss of taste, and a bitter or metallic taste. Usually it has a sudden onset and is exacerbated by alcohol, tobacco, and spicy foods. Treatment can help, but this condition cannot be cured. Burning mouth syndrome is often associated with emotional disorders like anxiety and depression.

If you are frequently stressed, talk to your doctor to help you find a solution. Doing so can save you from other serious complications in the future.

About the Author

Dr. Scott Kapers is a dentist serving the Valparaiso, IN area at Creating Smiles, PC. He completed his undergraduate and Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees at Indiana University. He is committed to taking 100+ hours of continuing education each year. Dr. Kapers provides custom-made nightguards to his patients who suffer from bruxism. For more information or to make an appointment, call (219) 462-1970.

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Creating Smiles, PC, located in St. John and Valparaiso, Indiana, offers everything you need for a healthy smile and a healthier life. Dr. Kapers and his team can take the anxiety and uncertainty out of dental visits with sedation dentistry, and we're the premier provider of dental implants in the region.