Stress and Oral Health: Why Prioritizing Self-Care Really Matters

Oral health matters

The Unexpected Connection Between Self-Care and Oral Health

Sure, we know the entire body is connected. But the functions of our body are intertwined in more ways than we give it credit for. The health of our spine can affect our knees, our arms, or even our hands. A knee problem can affect our gait and create discomfort in the opposite hip. The list goes on. But did you know that stress levels can directly affect your health as well, specifically your oral health?

The Link

There are several links between mental and oral health. First, those who are struggling with their mental health may find it difficult to complete everyday tasks or feel motivated to maintain a healthy diet and exercise habits. Second, some going through a time of stress will often reach out to things like drugs, alcohol, or even tobacco for some assistance. All of this can create a path to health problems—oral health issues included. 

With this in mind, it is easy to understand how one might justify skipping things like flossing daily, regularly brushing twice a day, maintaining a healthy diet, etc.—they seem insignificant at the time compared to everything else going on. But the absence of these habits can have a profound impact in the development of cavities and gum disease and require restorative treatment later on.

Self-Care and Self-Confidence

Dedicating time to take care of yourself creates a snowball effect. Reprioritizing in this way can help reduce stress so you can once again feel like the strong, powerful individual you are. This empowerment can drastically improve your self-confidence. You’ll likely smile more because of it, too, which also helps boost both your mental and physical health!  

Self-Care Practices

If you’ve been in a season of stress for a while, it can be a bit of a struggle to figure out what self-care activities you can actually do. Perhaps you have a toddler or work long hours, or maybe the fog of depression has settled in. Whatever the reason, we’ve got some ideas for you.

The Power of Saying No

Did you know that saying, “no” can sometimes be considered self-care? When family or friends call for the hundredth time for you to come over or you just don’t feel like being around others, give yourself permission to decline. Having that extra night in might just make you feel a little better.

Physical Activity

If you were one of the kids who cringed at the idea of P.E. class, this might not be an attractive solution. But physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go outside and run a mile. Pull up a yoga class on YouTube, (here’s a nice one!) go for a walk around the block, or grab those dusty dumbbells from the corner and see what you can come up with while watching your favorite show. 

Alternatively, if you crave that rush, throw on your sneakers and run for it! If you love collecting things or are motivated by zombies, why not try this running app? Alternatively, you could take a kickboxing class or pull up a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout online. Whatever you want to do to get that blood flowing, do it! You won’t regret it. 


Did you know that there are different ways to journal? You don’t have to sit down and write out your life story. (Though if you want to, go for it!) Some people get those feelings onto paper by writing a paragraph a day in their day planner. Others take their struggles out on a character in their very own novel. Put that pen to paper and see what comes out—no one has to see it!

Reduce Screen Time

Social media puts a lot of pressure on us all. Never be afraid to turn your phone on airplane mode and shove it in a drawer. You can even set daily limits to individual apps if needed to try and keep the mindless scrolling to a minimum. 

Water and Food

When we are dehydrated or have been fueling our bodies improperly, it’s no surprise that our mental state tends to slip. If you’re having a rough time, always take a quick look at what you’re putting into your body. A little change might go a long way! 

Smile Makeover

Giving your self-confidence a boost goes a long way toward aiding your mental health. One way to do this is to give yourself a smile makeover! Whether this is through professional whitening or dental bonding, your dentist can help you out.


Did you know that driving while sleepy can be just as bad as driving drunk? With that in mind, it’s no surprise that a lack of sleep can have an impact on our mental health. Turn the phone off a little early, take a deep breath, and do your best to get the shut-eye your body desperately needs.

Asking for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’ve been going through a tough time, remember there is always someone out there who is willing to give you a helping hand. All you’ve got to do is ask for it.

Self-Care Habits

Sometimes it takes a while to make self-care a habit. Remember that spending even 20 minutes a day can make a difference in your mental health. Keep trying to spend a few minutes for yourself, and watch it slowly become a habit. 

It’s not your fault.

Though it can be easy to point out how one problem led to another, it can be much harder to keep it from happening in the first place. If oral health problems manage to sneak up on you during a period of high stress, it is important to be kind to yourself! When you’re in a stressful season, it’s not uncommon to fall into a kind of survival mode, just trying to put one foot in front of the other to make it through. And that’s why self-care can be such a game-changer!

There are different options to help your smile get right back to where it was before. Never be afraid to contact your dentist. They want to help you!

Compass Dental Group wants to help.

Whether you are in need of a professional dental cleaning or need some cosmetic dentistry, our Compass Dental Group team is ready to help you get your smile back in tip-top shape. Never be ashamed of that smile! We’ve seen it all, and we want to help get you feeling great about yourself again so you can smile confidently.
Making an appointment is simple. You can give us a call or fill out our online form. We look forward to seeing you.