How Stress Changes Your Smile

3 February 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


You may never have noticed this, but signs that you're stressed can easily be detected by simply examining your mouth. Stress tends to have a huge impact on your smile and overall oral health. When you're stressed out, there will be a few tell-tale symptoms that show around your mouth. Many dental professionals are very much aware of this little fun fact. Don't be surprised then if your dentist suddenly asks you how badly your day went when you go to his office feeling all stressed out.

Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding stress and its effects on your smile:

1. Your mouth is a reflection of your inner emotions.

Stress, as most people are aware of, can manifest itself in your physical body through things like pimples and acne. When it comes to your mouth, stress does the same thing. Canker sores or a burning mouth are highly likely to be caused by stress.

2. Being stressed causes you to put your defenses down.

Stress has a negative effect on your immune system. This is why it becomes easier for teeth-destroying plaque and bacteria to invade your mouth and therefore makes it harder to fight them.

3. When you're stressed, you're likely to grind your teeth.

Teeth grinding is a habit many people don't even notice they have until someone tells them. Often, teeth grinding is caused by the stress you feel throughout the day which can damage your teeth very much.

4. You tend to forget your dental hygiene.

Because you have so much going on at the moment and your plate is never empty, other things may become secondary to your priorities. Most people tend to throw proper oral hygiene to the end of their list when they become so consumed with everything. This is particularly harmful because conversely, an unhealthy mouth can contribute to even more stress.

A Suggested Solution to Your Stress

The world has a lifetime of ironies to straighten out, and here is one related to stress. When people are stressed, they are less likely to flash even the slightest smile, but smiling is actually one of the most effective tools to counter stress!

University of Kansas psychologists, through one of their studies, proved that even a forced smile, when put in stressful events, significantly decreases heart rates. Imagine what more a genuine smile can do! Another fun fact about smiles is that they release endorphins and serotonin, the world's ultimate cures to stress. So the best remedy to a stressful day? Keep flashing those bright and glowing smiles! (For more information on cosmetic dentistry, contact Gentle Family Dentistry & Orthodontics)