Stress can have surprising implications on your body, and any part of your body can be affected including your mouth.

Below are three problems that stress can cause in your mouth and three ways to combat stress.

  1. Mouth ulcers. These are a common sign of stress, feeling run down or over working. Mouth ulcers are usually approximately 1cm in diameter and are red with a yellow centre. If you have regular mouth ulcers or particularly painful ulcers, visit your dentist or doctor who will be able to run further tests as ulcers can also be signs of a more serious illness. If you have a mouth ulcer, you may find eating soft and cooling foods such as vegetables, cucumber and pears, to be easier and kinder on your mouth.  
  2. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching, can be something you do without thinking. This is most common when you're asleep, although can also happen when you're awake. If it happens during your sleep, you may not be aware that you are doing it. Some of the effects of grinding your teeth are loose teeth or a chipped tooth, toothaches, headaches or ear pain. 
  3. Gum disease. It was reported in 2007 that researchers have found a strong connection between suffering from stress and developing gum disease. This is due to the elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your body which has a detrimental effect on many aspects of your body including your gums. It is also due to stressed people becoming lax about their oral hygiene routines. If you have bleeding, tender and swollen gums, you should visit your dentist. Gum disease can be managed but if left without medical intervention it could lead to tooth loss.

How to Keep Stress Away

  1. Take some you-time. The best way to handle stress is to identify what is causing the stress and, if possible, removing it. If the stress cannot be removed then work some personal time into your schedule. Do something that is just for you and that you enjoy. Make sure you do this regularly and allow yourself to clear your mind and relax.  
  2. Breathing. If you only have a few minutes to spare and are feeling particularly stressed, take a moment to breath. Find somewhere where you can sit, or stand safely. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Concentrate on those breaths and feel your body relax. If it helps, imagine taking hold of what is causing your stress and throwing it away as your exhale.  
  3. Be healthy. Exercise can release endorphins which make you feel good and help to flush out the cortisol from your body. The level of exercise is up to you, whether you want to try a fast paced spinning class or go for a daily gentle walk, either will help to de-stress you. Eating healthy is also important. By eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and staying clear of processed sugar and fizzy drinks, you will feel energised which will help to keep the stress hormones at bay.

Check out dentists such as Michael Urwand if you think that stress is causing your mouth to suffer.