Can Stress Make Your Teeth Fall Out?

Stress is a normal part of our lives, and some stress is actually good for you. Studies on rats performed by the University of California Berkeley found that brief periods of stress improved their mental performance after a couple of weeks (via Berkeley News). "You always think about stress as a really bad thing, but it's not," said Daniela Kaufer, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. "Some amounts of stress are good to push you just to the level of optimal alertness, behavioral and cognitive performance."

But while short bursts of stress may be helpful to the brain, chronic stress is not. Ongoing stress can cause many health problems, one of which is bruxism. Bruxism refers to teeth grinding and jaw clenching that is often associated with stress and anxiety (via National Health Service). Side effects of bruxism include headaches, facial pain, and disrupted sleep. It can also cause you to wear down and break your teeth if it goes on long enough without treatment. Stress can also weaken your immune system, which can contribute to other dental problems like gum disease (via Live Science). However, according to Live Science, it is unlikely that stress alone could cause your teeth to fall out. Such a severe outcome in your dental health is more likely to be caused by serious gum disease left untreated for a long period of time.

Other side effects of chronic stress

Although stress may not cause your teeth to fall out, it comes with plenty of other negative side effects that you want to avoid. According to Cleveland Clinic, physical symptoms of stress include aches and pains, increase heart rate, fatigue, dizziness, and high blood pressure. You can also experience stomach problems, a weakened immune system, and sexual dysfunction. Emotional and mental symptoms of stress include anxiety, irritability, depression, panic attacks, and sadness.

Chronic stress even has behavioral symptoms, which can include changes in appetite, avoiding responsibilities, and increased nervous behaviors like nail-biting and fidgeting. People who are chronically stressed may try to manage their emotions in unhealthy ways like overusing drugs and alcohol to reduce their stress levels.

Fortunately, there are many ways to manage your stress levels. Exercising regularly can help, as well as relaxing practices like meditation and yoga. If you feel like you can't manage your stress, speak with your healthcare provider. Sometimes therapy or medications are the best way to deal with chronic stress.