How Stress Affects Your Smile

Posted on January 3, 2023 | Hot Topics

How Stress Affects Your Smile

Did you know that stress can affect your smile? Doctors often remind us that stress can increase everything from high blood pressure to depression but we don’t often hear about how stress can affect our smile. Even children are susceptible to stress-induced oral problems.

Here are a few dental problems that can be linked to stress.

Canker and Cold Sores

We know that cold sores are a symptom of the herpes simplex virus but scientists don’t know exactly  what causes canker sores. They suspect that canker sores are related to infection, viruses, a SLS sensitivity, or a weak immune system. If you or our child get mouth sores often, you probably already know that stress seems to bring them on or increase the amount of time needed for healing. 

If you communicate with your doctor or dentist, your healthcare provider can advise you on medications, diet, and stress reduction methods. 

Temporomandibular Disorders

TMD can have many direct and indirect causes. For example, when one is under stress and does not have the ability to manage it, the stress may cause jaw clenching which, in turn, causes pain in the jaw joint. Other symptoms of TMD can include pain, tenderness, or swelling in the ear, neck, face, or shoulder; clicking or popping sounds; and changes in the alignment of the bite. If you or your child experiences any of these things, it is important to meet with the dentist.

Oral Hygiene

Sometimes children can miss or skip brushing and flossing when they are experiencing high levels of stress.

Gum Disease

The ability to fight plaque build-up can be reduced under stress which can lead to gum disease.


Teeth Grinding

There’s no surprise that teeth grinding (or bruxism) is detrimental to our teeth. Teeth grinding starts with enamel wear that leads to loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. During this progression, other problems may arise like gum recession, TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders), and headaches.

Teeth grinding is often normal and self-limiting in children, meaning they tend to grow out of it over time. However, it also may be related to airway restriction, such as enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids. While teeth grinding may be in part related to stress in children, there are several other factors which often contribute to grinding. If your child grinds their teeth, Blossom can help develop a treatment plan and work with you and your doctor to manage and even eliminate this condition.


It is very common for people to consume more sugar and snack more frequently between meals when they are experiencing increased stress. Add this at a time when good oral hygiene is not a first priority and you will likely  see a major negative impact on their oral health.   

Let’s get ahead of the vicious cycle! Call to make an appointment with us here at Blossom to protect your child’s dental health.



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