Can stress cause cavities?

This blogpost will answer the question Can stress cause cavities? And will include the following topics:Can stress affect the development of cavities?

How Stress Can Cause Significant Damage to Your Oral Health

Long Term Stress Is Bad For Your Overall Health

A vicious cycle

Can Flossing Cause Cavities?

Can Illness Cause Tooth Decay & Cavities?

5 Bad Stress Habits That Can Cause Cavities

How to Reduce Stress

Can stress cause cavities?

Yes, stress can cause cavities. Stress is a huge source of health problems, and it’s no different when it comes to your dental health. Stress may cause a variety of dental disorders and have an influence on your oral hygiene regimen and nutrition, raising your risk of tooth decay.

Can stress affect the development of cavities?

Stress has been proven by medical findings to have a number of effects on the body, one of which is an increased risk of tooth decay. To begin with, stress can cause a dry mouth and a lack of saliva, which is necessary to neutralise the acids in your mouth. Furthermore, stress may wreak havoc on your immune system, causing inflammation all over the body. Sugary foods are what trigger cavities and are bad for your dental health, therefore stress could make you crave them..

How Stress Can Cause Significant Damage to Your Oral Health

Stress reduction should be a primary concern for a number of different factors. Stress has not just psychological consequences, but it may also harm your health, including your oral health. Here are a few reasons why you should start prioritising your health and stress management:

Stress increases your risk for gum disease.

Your immune system is your body’s natural defence mechanism against sickness and infection which can become weakened by stress. When it comes to your dental health, this might be very problematic. When your immune system is weakened by stress, pathogenic bacteria in your mouth take advantage of the chance to cause severe damage to your gums. Gingivitis is a gum infection that occurs as a result of this. Gingivitis is simple to treat in its early stages.If left untreated, however, it can lead to gum disease, which is a major oral health problem. As a result, if you’ve been stressed recently, be sure to floss and keep a good oral hygiene regimen to protect your gums. If flossing causes your gums to bleed, make an appointment with your dentist right soon.

What to do:

Constantly remind yourself that brushing your teeth and maintaining a healthy diet can help you avoid having to visit the dentist for cavity filling. It could inspire you to make adjustments. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Use an antibiotic mouth rinse twice a day to keep microorganisms at bay.

Stress can lead to teeth grinding.

When you’re anxious, do you ever catch yourself clenching your teeth? While you may be unaware of it, you might be one of the many individuals who grind their teeth while sleeping. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is usually linked to stress and happens most often when sleeping. This can be harmful to your teeth and jawbone, as well as your overall oral health. Nighttime teeth grinders might wear down their tooth enamel and cause significant damage. TMJ syndrome, which is described by pain and discomfort in the jaw and face, can also be caused by it. Finally, if you wake up with a painful jaw, it’s possible that you’re grinding your teeth as a result of stress.

What to do:

To manage you stop or reduce your grinding, your dentist may suggest a night guard or similar appliance that you wear while sleeping. When you’re not eating during the day, try to keep your teeth slightly apart.

Stress can cause mouth sores.

The pain from a canker sore or a mouth ulcer can be excruciating, making it very difficult to talk and eat. Mouth sores are frequently caused by a weakened immune system. This is why they appear most frequently at times of stress. Thankfully, these uncomfortable sores usually go away on their own after a while. If you experience them frequently, pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you! You can be under too much stress on a daily basis.

What to do:

To reduce irritation, avoid spicy, hot meals and foods strong in acid, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits. Canker sores usually go away in a week to ten days.

Try an over-the-counter “numbing” drug applied straight to the sore for comfort.

People with chronic stress are more prone to tooth decay.

There are a few reasons why stress and tooth decay are so closely linked. For starters, when people are stressed, they are more likely to make poor health decisions. This includes consuming unhealthy meals, especially starchy and sugary foods, which are known to cause tooth decay, as well as neglecting your hygiene practises. Both of these habits might make you more susceptible to cavities over time. Dry mouth is more common in those who use drugs for chronic stress. This oral health problem reduces the production of saliva, which is a vital line of defence against germs that cause tooth decay.Unfortunately, all of these issues combined could mean more cavities down the road.

What to do:

Get into a regular exercise routine. It can relieve stress, rev up your energy levels, and encourage you to eat healthier.

Long Term Stress Is Bad For Your Overall Health

Stress can be beneficial in the short term. In exceptional emergency circumstances, small spikes of adrenaline can save your life. However, if your body is heavily burdened with stress for an extended period of time, your hormones and immune system will suffer. This is referred to as chronic stress.

When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Cortisol is typically used as an anti-inflammatory. When it’s mass-produced in the gums, though, it stimulates protein synthesis. As a result, there is an excessive amount of inflammation in this area.

In brief, stress has a chemical effect on your general and oral health. The greatest damage to your own teeth from stress is the improper oral practises you develop in trying to cope with it.

A vicious cycle

A vicious cycle exists between stress and dental health. Many tooth, mouth, gum, and jaw disorders can be caused by stress, but oral health concerns can also lead to greater stress, which exacerbates the difficulties. As a result, it’s necessary to address factors of stress in your life before they have a chance to affect your dental health. If you already have oral health problems as a result of stress, it’s critical that you work with your dentist to figure out how to effectively treat them and take additional preventative steps so that you don’t get locked in this never-ending cycle of stress and poor dental health.

The wisest choice you can do to help prevent stress-related oral health problems is to go to your dentist on a regular basis so that your dentist can check all of your teeth for mobility and make sure they’re not hitting your dental arch more than they should be, as well as make sure there are no signs of gum disease.

Most importantly, your dentist will be able to take action if any dental issues are diagnosed. Knowing that your dentist is on top of your dental health is a source of stress reduction in and of itself, helping to break the stress-ill-health cycle.

Can Flossing Cause Cavities?

No. Cavities, on the other hand, can be caused by not flossing. Forgetting to floss at least once a day (or brush twice a day) can leave cavity-causing germs in your mouth, allowing plaque to build up and encourage tooth decay.

Can Illness Cause Tooth Decay & Cavities?

If you use cough drops or throat lozenges when you’re ill, you might be putting yourself at risk for cavities. Long-term exposure to sugar from cough candies (especially if you chew on them before night) can be damaging to your dental health. If you must have a cough candy, look for sugar-free varieties or rinse your teeth afterward.

5 Bad Stress Habits That Can Cause Cavities

Many people cope with stress by engaging in destructive behaviors. It’s frequently more convenient than confronting the source of your worry. However, if you continue to practise these harmful practises, your teeth will be damaged.

Try to avoid these five if you’re stressed.

Teeth Grinding

Your teeth might be damaged if you grind your teeth (bruxism). Your teeth’s enamel wears away, leaving them vulnerable to infection, thermal sensitivity, and cavities. Another way stress might induce cavities is through indirect means.

Grinding your teeth can also lead to cracks and fractures, which can be exceedingly painful. As previously said, TMD, which affects the posture of your entire jaw, is likely the worst result of teeth grinding.

Aggressive Tooth Brushing

While maintaining a healthy oral hygiene practice is important, going overboard might cause more harm than good. Brushing your teeth harder, contrary to popular belief, will not make them cleaner. Brushing too hard will only wear away the enamel and harm your gum line.

Yes, stress can force you to brush your teeth too hard, which can lead to cavities.


One of the worst habits to have is smoking. It creates wrinkles and stains your teeth, as well as increasing your chances of lung and mouth cancer. Furthermore, the chemicals in cigarettes have been linked to the development of cavities.

Smoking is a typical method for individuals to cope with stress, thus it’s a common way for stress to create cavities.


Short-term alcohol use can be soothing. Long-term alcohol usage, on the other hand, increases stress levels. While it may seem to assist at first, it will eventually make your tension worse. It also puts your teeth in jeopardy.

The germs in your tooth plaque thrive on alcohol. This plaque is the primary cause of cavities.

Poor Diet

It is necessary to maintain a balanced diet in order to keep you and your teeth in good shape. People who are stressed typically eat processed and sugary meals to cope. While this is unhealthy for your body for a variety of reasons, it has the most immediate impact on your oral health.

Sugar and other carbs, like alcohol, nourish the microorganisms on your teeth, making them more prone to cavities.

How to Reduce Stress

Finding healthy ways to reduce stress will make your overall health and your dental health better. Try these ideas to protect yourself from stress-induced cavities.

Exercise regularly: 

Regular exercise improves your health in more ways than one. It also increases endorphin production, which makes you happier and reduces stress.


Meditation is a fantastic method of managing stress. For thousands of years, this method has aided humanity..

Try yoga:

Yoga is a great way to blend meditation and fitness. A basic yoga practice can help you reconnect with your body and increase your flexibility.

Reduce your caffeine intake:

Coffee tastes great, but it’s bad for your teeth. Coffee’s tannins discolour your teeth, and the acidic liquid eats away at your enamel. Caffeine also makes you feel more awake and anxious.

Chew sugar-free gum:

Sugar-free gum can reduce your teeth grinding and inadvertently clean your teeth at the same time.

Spend time with friends and family:

Enjoying time with loved ones increases serotonin production in the brain, making you happier and less worried.

Visit a therapist:

A skilled and experienced psychologist can help support you in overcoming the sources of stress in your life by assessing the mental processes that produce worry.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can anxiety cause cavities?

Yes, anxiety and stress can cause cavities. Stress eating is a major reason you may develop cavities because you crave sugar when anxious. Also stress triggers other problems which indirectly can cause cavities such as teeth clenching, dry mouth, mouth sores, etc.

Why do I suddenly have cavities?

Stress could be the reason that you develop cavities suddenly. Stress triggers production of cortisol, which can cause inflammation in the mouth  that may lead to cavities. Also stress can cause dry mouth which makes it easier for the decay causing bacteria to grow.

Are cavities caused by not flossing?

Yes, cavities can be caused by not flossing. Flossing helps in removing the food particles stuck in between the teeth which are not removed by brushing.these food particles, keeps on releasing sugar until removed. The decay causing bacteria feed on this sugar and eventually leads to cavities. 

Can stress cause tooth sensitivity?

Yes, stress can cause tooth sensitivity. Stress can lead to unconscious teeth clenching/grinding which wears down the enamel leading to tooth sensitivity.

Does depression affect teeth?

Yes, depression can affect teeth. Depression can lead to decreased saliva production leading to dry mouth. When the mouth becomes dry, the cavity-causing bacteria can easily damage the tooth leading to decay.

Other FAQs about Teeth Cavities that you may be interested in.

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