What’s the Link Between Anxiety and Tooth Pain?

Increased clenching of the jaw, grinding of the teeth, increased sensitivity, or neglect of dental hygiene due to stress can all be indirect effects of anxiety on your teeth.

Although it may not be the most evident sign of anxiety, there is frequently a link between anxiety and tooth discomfort.

Find out more about the connection between dental discomfort and anxiety in this article. We also discuss how to minimise the negative effects of worry on your teeth and indications to watch out for.

Is there a relationship between anxiety and tooth pain?

Tooth discomfort can be indirectly caused by anxiety in the following ways.


Anxiety frequently results in bruxism, or teeth grinding or clenching. This pressure can cause tooth sensitivity and occasionally radiating pain by causing enamel wear, fractures, and cracks in the teeth. According to certain research, folks who are under stress have greater rates of bruxism than people who are not under stress.

Salivary pH changes

Anxiety lowers saliva production, which changes the saliva's pH balance and makes the mouth more acidic. Increased tooth sensitivity and decay may result from this. Higher anxiety levels were linked to more acidity in saliva, according to a study involving 105 students. This finding raises the possibility that stress modifies saliva composition and impacts oral health.

Increased pain sensitivity

Studies indicate that anxiety and other stress-related disorders may increase the body's sensitivity to pain. This may enhance your sensitivity to pre-existing oral problems, such as gum disease or cavities, and cause you extra discomfort.

Poor oral hygiene

Excessive stress might cause you to neglect your oral hygiene, which can lead to gingivitis, plaque buildup, and eventual tooth pain. A 2,400-person study conducted in Toronto found that higher levels of stress were associated with worse oral health and more discomfort, especially in those without dental insurance or from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Gum disease aggravation

According to some studies, immune system functions such as inflammation, wound healing, and infection responses are all greatly impacted by stress. Pain or discomfort as well as irritated gums may result from this.

Muscle tension

Anxiety can lead to stiff or trigger point-producing (localised muscular knots or spasms) jaw muscles, which can produce discomfort that seems to radiate to seemingly unconnected places, including the teeth.

Signs your toothache is due to anxiety

The following are indications that your toothache may be caused by anxiety:
  • clenching or tense jaw, particularly in anxious situations
  • teeth grinding, especially at night or under pressure
  • indications of tooth deterioration or damage from stress-related behaviours
  • a yellowish or translucent tint on your teeth as a result of stomach acid-induced enamel degradation
  • cavities that appear suddenly, especially in the rear teeth
  • rough edges or tooth thinning as a result of enamel wear
  • more discomfort when under stress

Treatment options for anxiety-induced tooth pain

Treating anxiety-related tooth pain frequently entails taking care of the underlying stress as well as the dental problem. Here are a few methods:
  • Night guard or splints: If you grind your teeth while you sleep, your dentist may recommend a night guard or splint to stop the damage from getting worse.
  • Dental treatment: Fillings, dental bonding, or enamel restoration operations may be necessary depending on the type of dental issue you have, such as cavities or enamel erosion.
  • Stress management: Stress-reduction methods like yoga, meditation, or counselling can help alleviate dental discomfort brought on by anxiety.
  • Medications: Physicians and dentists may prescribe painkillers for short-term relief as well as, occasionally, medicines to treat symptoms of stress or anxiety.
  • Dental hygiene: Strict oral hygiene practices, such as fluoride mouthwash, frequent brushing, and flossing, can reduce additional harm.

When should you contact a dentist for tooth pain?

For tooth discomfort, it's important to get in touch with a dentist if you have:
  • chronic discomfort, particularly if a toothache is acute or getting worse, or if it lasts more than a day or two
  • temperature sensitivity, such as when eating extremely hot or cold food
  • gum oedema or bleeding along with tenderness or discomfort
  • Jaw discomfort may be an indication of temporomandibular joint disease, especially if it is accompanied by toothache.
  • harm to the oral cavity
  • noticeable alterations, like a pimple-like lump on the gums, discoloured areas on the teeth, or indications of injury
  • transferred pain, or pain that originates elsewhere but radiates elsewhere, like sinus pain that mimics a toothache

The bottom line

Through teeth grinding, increased sensitivity, pH imbalance shifts, and even poor dental hygiene brought on by stress, anxiety can aggravate tooth discomfort.

See a dentist to rule out any underlying dental issues if you're dealing with persistent tooth pain along with stress or worry.

Proactive steps you may take to assist in treating anxiety-related tooth discomfort include using stress-relieving techniques, scheduling routine dental exams, and practising proper oral hygiene.


Does anxiety cause tooth pain?

Anxiety can contribute to tooth pain

Can mental stress cause tooth pain?

Stress can cause you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth. This can lead to tooth pain or cause TMJ.

Can dentists tell if you have depression?

Dentists are trained to look for signs of depression

Do antidepressants affect teeth?
Psychotropic drugs have the potential to cause significant damage to your teeth.

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