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How Pandemic Stress Can Lead to Tooth Damage

dentist examining for tooth damage from stress

There are an unlimited number of stressors presented to us in our daily lives. From looming deadlines to missed alarms, cortisol races through our bodies when it senses external issues. 

The pandemic has only exacerbated such feelings of stress and anxiety. Chronic stress negatively affects all systems within the body, from the cardiovascular system to the musculoskeletal system. One particular part of the musculoskeletal system that has been hard hit as a result of pandemic stress: teeth.

But how does stress tie into tooth damage? In this article, we'll explore how stress affects our teeth and what you can do if you're experiencing any symptoms of teeth damage.


Stress and Tooth Damage

Stress is a sign of the body's attempt to regulate an imbalance. When it comes to your teeth, your body's inherent attempt to release said stress can manifest a number of ways:

  • Grinding and clenching of the teeth

  • Gum disease

  • TMD

  • Canker Sores

  • Infections

  • Dry Mouth

The number one action you can take to keep your mouth and teeth healthy is to visit your dentist regularly. In fact, more than 25% of Canadians did not visit their dentist at the start of the pandemic.

Dentists can spot the warning signs of extreme tooth damage, preventing potential loss. Each of the signs of stress above is cause for concern, but let's take a quick look at teeth grinding and TMD specifically.

Teeth Grinding

The pressure that comes from stress can quite literally translate to unnecessary pressure on your teeth. When it comes to teeth grinding or jaw clenching, excessive pressure over time can lead to stress lines in teeth, cracked, chipped, and even broken teeth.

Involuntary grinding happens when a body attempts to release stress. Suggestions that may help lessen teeth grinding:

  • Massage therapy

  • Breathing or meditation exercises

  • Keep physically active

  • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption

Apart from attempting to lessen stress levels to get to the root of the issues, dentists can recommend a mouthguard. This will help your grinding teeth stress from resulting in loosened or lost teeth and help increase the longevity of your teeth overall.


TMD stands for temporomandibular disorders and is used to describe conditions that affect your jaw via muscles and joints that are out of normal working order.

Chronic grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw can lead to issues like TMD. With TMD, you may experience sore jaw muscles, or a popping or clicking sound when moving your mouth.

The tension related to excessive grinding or clenching of the jaw can lead to headaches, muscle tension, and even difficulty chewing without feeling pain.

Schedule Your Dental Exam

If left unchecked, stress can wreak havoc on your mouth and overall dental health. That's where we come in.

At My Victoria Dentist, we offer a comprehensive approach to dental care via a wide range of dental services. Our dentists focus on identifying risk factors and preventing tooth damage problems before they occur to help keep your mouth and teeth healthy for years to come.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our clinic in Victoria, BC.



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