Mystery Solved! Can Stress Cause Tooth Pain?

Healthy Mind / Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

Tooth pain is usually a symptom of an underlying oral health problem like gum disease, infection, or broken teeth. But can stress cause tooth pain? Technically, yes, it can. Stress can trigger many aches like headaches and stomach pain, but studies show that it might also lead to tooth pain. How does that happen? When stress and anxiety take place, some people unconsciously practice teeth grinding (clenching). This habit can lead to pain in teeth and gums and may even result in TMJ syndrome. If this is the case, you may opt to go to Prime Dental Specialists in Epping to seek professional help. Dentists can provide treatment for temporomandibular joint pain.



Stress and Tooth Pain

stressful situationStress can carry many body aches, starting from neck pain and headaches. But a lot of people experience stress-related tooth pain. Teeth grinding is hard to control especially if you are overflowing with stressful emotions. If your dentist identifies that you are clenching your jaw, you might need to undergo a procedure to protect your jaw muscles from discomfort. Nevertheless, you can try using warm compresses or addressing your stress triggers.

If you suspect that your toothache is just a temporary effect of stress, you can take over-the-counter painkillers instead. Remember that pain relievers should only be used for short-term treatment and should only be taken if the toothache is due to stress and anxiety. If you have gum disease, it would be wiser to visit your dentist to protect your teeth.

Giving your oral health the attention it needs should be one of your priorities. Apart from the fact that stress causes tooth and pain, it could also work the other way around. For instance, you may get stressed when you realize that you have canker sores, gum disease that affects your immune system, bruxism, and mouth disorders.

Let us discuss the different ways stress causes toothache.

Gum Disease

Stress brings many changes to our body’s ability to fight infection. It weakens our immune system and reduces our chances of fighting infections that lead to gum disease. When this happens, our oral health gets compromised, and other dental problems may arise.

Furthermore, stress helps develop the disease allowing harmful germs and bacteria to get inside the body. Set an appointment with your dentist.

Clenching and Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is a common symptom of anxiety and stress. The thing about bruxism is that you may not know that you have it since it usually happens when you are asleep. You will usually feel toothache after waking up, accompanied by discomfort in the lower jaw. Signs of bruxism also include chips, flat teeth tips, and sharp edges.

Sensitivity to hot and cold beverages may also take place. Your dentist may identify the best dental care procedure to save your teeth from the effects of grinding, so be sure to have your teeth and gums checked to keep them healthy.


Temporomandibular disorders are associated with the muscles and joints in the jaw. For instance, you might feel pain in the front part of your ears, and that isn’t normal. Painful jaw muscles that pop and click usually indicate TMD. The signs would also include discomfort when opening and closing the mouth while chewing.

Furthermore, headaches and muscle sores in the back, neck, and shoulders may also follow. But don’t get anxious when this happens; you can always see your family dentist for a TMJ consultation. Most likely, patients will be asked to wear mouth guards to alleviate discomfort among other dental services.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth happens when your glands do not produce the right amount of saliva. This is usually due to the side effects of medication, treatments, or medical conditions. Stress, depression, and anxiety also play a role in the lack of saliva.

If you are anxious and you start breathing through your mouth, the dryness inside might get worse. This could also happen if your mouth is open as you sleep.

The best way to prevent dry mouth is by drinking plenty of water. A mouthwash without alcohol might also help keep the mouth moisturized.

Canker Sores

Canker sores include painful ulcers from the inside of the mouth. Once the oral mucosa gets injured, mouth sores will start to appear. They usually need two weeks to heal. Canker sores happen when you bite your tongue or cheek.

According to research, stressed individuals are at a higher risk of developing mouth sores. Why? Because stress causes your immune system to become weak, hence, allowing the tissues in your mouth to break down.

The good news is that they go away on their own and do not usually require treatment. Just make sure to clean your gums and teeth diligently to keep your entire mouth clean and healthy.

Bacterial Infections

Surprisingly, stress significantly affects your immunity, and this puts you at risk of bacterial infections. This is because your body’s ability to fight bacteria is compromised.


Managing Stress

Stress is a common part of our lives, and it does not go away in a snap. All we can do is learn how to manage our stress triggers and react appropriately. Each step you take to keep stress at bay promotes physical and mental health benefits.

Here are some of the ways for you to keep yourself free from stressful events:

  • managing stressget enough sleep
  • eat healthy meals
  • exercise regularly
  • see your doctor on appointment
  • practice deep breathing
  • find new hobbies
  • take a hot shower
  • stay away from your triggers
  • spend time with loved ones (family, friends, etc.)
  • change your daily routine

We all deal with stress in different ways, and its effects on us may vary as well. But only one thing is for sure, putting stress aside is good for your health in general.






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