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3150 North Elm Street, Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408

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December 30, 2020

What Is Stress Doing To Your Oral Health?

The year 2020 took its toll on most of us. As the pandemic continues, there are many who are stressed with health concerns, financial pressures, and other uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus. These stresses can affect our physical and mental health in a variety of ways, and can even include our oral health. Here are a few of the key indicators of how stress might be impacting your oral health.

Teeth Grinding

A well known symptom of stress is teeth grinding. This often happens during sleep so many people are not even aware they are doing it. Take note of chipped teeth, sharp edges, sore muscles, or an increase in temperature or sweet sensitivity. It is common for teeth or fillings to fracture due to  teeth grinding. We have noticed a significant increase in cracked teeth since COVID-19 started. If you think you may be grinding your teeth, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist for further evaluation. 

TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders)

Teeth grinding or clenching can contribute to other oral health issues such as TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders). These disorders can affect the muscles and joints and present themselves as  sore jaw muscles or popping and clicking in your jaw making it difficult to chew or open your mouth wide. According to the American Psychiatric Association, nearly half of Americans are anxious about the coronavirus. This increased stress can also lead to tight neck muscles that can further aggravate TMD issues. 

Dry Mouth

Stress and anxiety have been shown to decrease the production of saliva. Your mouth may feel dry and scratchy and seem worse at night. Dry mouth (xerostomia) is known to significantly increase your risk of cavities. Drinking plenty of water and using a non-alcoholic mouthwash such as Biotene can help alleviate dry mouth symptoms. 

Oral Infections

Stress can gravely impact our immune system and put us at risk for oral infections such as thrush and gum disease. These oral infections can further weaken our body’s immunity, causing other systemic problems. Be sure to keep daily hygiene as part of your everyday routine. This can  be challenging for people whose daily routine has been disrupted by working or learning from home. The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends keeping your dental hygiene appointments during COVID-19. Dental offices around the country are taking extra precautions to keep their patients safe.


Reducing stress can help reduce related oral health issues like teeth grinding, TMD, dry mouth, and oral infections. Anxiety and stress often feel overwhelming but taking small steps each day can make a big difference. We recommend implementing stress reduction techniques including physical activity, breathing exercises, and getting plenty of rest. Staying connected with others is also important in maintaining your stress and anxiety levels. If you are experiencing oral health issues, we invite you to call Margaret Szott DDS at 336-286-9897 to schedule an appointment. We know that these are stressful times indeed, but please know that we’re here to serve our patients during this uncertainty.   Dr. Szott is currently accepting new patients and works with all insurance providers.



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3150 North Elm Street
Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
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