How Anxiety Can Impact the Mouth

Wooden doll looking frustrated

​Anxiety. It might not seem like one of the big reasons to go to the a dentist. In fact, anxiety seems more like a reason to avoid a dental checkup. Your smoking habit or the sharp pain you felt when you ate that bowl of ice cream last night seems like a more likely reason to schedule an appointment.

However, stress can cause a variety of issues that could cause your oral health to take a hit.

The Truth About Anxiety and Your Mouth

Of course, one of the more obvious reasons anxiety can affect oral health is a lack of proper and consistent oral care. Having depression or being caught up in a busy, overwhelming life, such as juggling a frantic work schedule combined with a hectic home life, can result in a neglect of your oral health.

Stress could also result in picking up habits that are not ideal for your oral well-being, as well as your overall health. One of those is smoking a cigarette, vaping or using chewing tobacco. There’s also the potential of binge eating in an attempt to alleviate stress, such as eating a whole pizza by yourself or drinking a large amount of alcohol.

However, there are other, less apparent factors that could cause poor oral health related to stress. One of those issues involves your level of cortisol, a hormone that your body uses to control blood sugar levels. When the cortisol levels in your body increase, it can cause an increase in inflammation of your gums, and it can cause your immune system to weaken, increasing your chance of infections.

Anxiety can also increase your chance of experiencing dry mouth, canker sores or grinding your teeth.

How Can I Treat My Anxiety?

Anxiety can be treated with a number of methods, but you need to first address the root of it. By determining the source of your anxiety, you can begin to assemble a plan to solve the problem, helping you return to healthy oral habits and a healthier smile.

Of course, you should try to get back into the habit of flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day on a daily basis to protect your oral health and hygiene.

If you suffer from anxiety and have had poor oral care in the past, we can help! Call 724-220-2347 to schedule an appointment today to receive help.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on March 4th, 2020