8 Anxiety Mouth Symptoms You Might Not Expect!

8 Anxiety Mouth Symptoms You Might Not Expect!

Anxiety is the most common psychological disorder impacting the day-to-day life of many. People respond to anxiety in different ways, but you're likely wondering if or how your anxiety is impacting your mouth and overall oral health. Listed below are the most common anxiety symptoms that happen in your mouth.

8 Anxiety Mouth Symptoms You Might Not Expect!

1. Dry Mouth

One of the most common symptoms people have in regards to their mouth and anxiety is dry mouth. Basically, a person experiencing anxiety can have a stress response in their body, and different people respond in different ways.

Some people get tight and sore muscles because their body responds to stress and anxiety by tensing up. That same idea applies here, only your body can respond by causing you to have a dry mouth.

It can be hard to draw the connection between a dry mouth and anxiety when your mind is busy worrying about other things. If you find that you're dealing with something and frequently need water because your mouth is constantly dry during the day, then you're likely experiencing dry mouth as a side effect of your anxiety or stress. [1]

Because this symptom of anxiety affecting the mouth can also affect the tongue, now's a good time to mention... For symptoms of anxiety affecting the tongue specifically, check out this article on anxiety tongue symptoms!

2. Sore Throat

This anxiety mouth symptom is interesting because you normally associate a sore throat with being sick, but it can be a stress response as well. If you have been having an above-average amount of stress and/or anxiety for a long period of time, your body may start to "shut down" so it can rest and recuperate. For instance, those of you in college or who went to college, have you ever noticed the number of sick students increases as finals get closer?

So, your body can produce a sore throat as a way to get you to take a step back and go a little easier on yourself. Essentially, your body is forcing you to slow down and wants to stop you from carrying all the stress and anxiety you were holding.

mouth symptoms of anxiety

3. Canker Sores

It is hard to pinpoint a reason for the correlation between stress/anxiety and canker sores, but generally speaking, people experiencing stress have behaviors that cause them to unconsciously act in certain ways. So, people who bite their lips when stressed and anxious will likely get canker sores. [2]

4. Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome is exactly what it sounds like; a burning sensation that occurs on the tongue, on the cheeks, and in the mouth in general. Some people experience this when they are under a high amount of stress for a long time, and it can be very uncomfortable to deal with. The best way to fix this is by seeing your doctor or dentist who can prescribe medications to help you. [3]

By the way... if any of the anxiety mouth symptoms on this list have you concerned but your fear of seeing the dentist is a barrier to treatment: Give this article a read to learn how to conquer dentophobia!

5. Bruxism

Bruxism is the fancy term for jaw clenching and teeth grinding. Some people grind their teeth when they are stressed, in their sleep, or want to simply pass the time. Oftentimes, it is a subconscious action. This can wear down your teeth and cause jaw pain. See your dentist or doctor if you have jaw pain or notice that you often grind your teeth.

Is it the stress that causes the anxiety or the anxiety that causes the stress? The world may never know. However, it happens to many people and the stress response is both mental and physical, which means you can experience your body responding to stress and anxiety in your mouth. [4]

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6. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

This disorder can be caused by grinding your teeth. If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw while stressed, over time that can turn into temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Basically, this is when the joints in your jaw experience pain and tenderness, causing discomfort or pain while talking or chewing. It can be a result of bruxism, but is, in general, not hard to fix. [5]

Massaging, using a heating pad, and other home remedies can help. If the issue persists, talk to your doctor and see if physical therapy is an option. If you've exhausted all other options, ask your doctor if surgery will solve the problem for you. If your TMJ is caused by anxiety, you shouldn't need to have surgery, but you will need to find ways to quell your anxiety.

7. Lichen Planus

This condition can appear on the body or in the mouth, causing inflammation, irritation, sores, and swelling. Men and women are both equally as likely to get lichen planus on their skin. The ratio of women to men that get this condition inside their mouth is 2:1. [6]

In general, people with anxiety can experience different types of sores, inflammation, or rashes on the skin, but this is a unique condition that can be a frustration because of how it can affect their mouth. Anytime there is something in your mouth that is not normally there and won't go away, it becomes frustrating, irritating, and uncomfortable. So, if you are experiencing this, talk to your doctor and see what you can do to get rid of or lessen the effects of lichen planus.

8. Hypersalivation

This condition is the overproduction of saliva, and some people experience this as a response to anxiety. It might sound like a weird symptom, but think about this: when you are experiencing stress and anxiety, your body will produce a stress response, as mentioned above. This response is not just a way to cope with stress and anxiety, but it also makes your body more alert and energized.

Basically, your body is getting ready to respond or react to the situation or event. So, with this, your body is going to be producing more of the thing you might need, and one of them can be saliva. To relate back to a previous point, with your body overproducing and being in an "alert" like state all the time your body gets worn out. So, when your body gets tired of the constant need to act, you will experience different signs that are your body telling you to slow down and rest.

How to Reduce Anxiety Mouth Symptoms

Sorry to hear you're dealing with these annoying anxiety mouth symptoms!

While your first trip should be to the dentist's office to screen out any serious concerns, I think I can help with the anxiousness part! I recently wrote a book with over a hundred different methods for managing anxiety and panic attacks. Give it a read and see if it helps with any of these oral symptoms of anxiety!


[1] Colgate - The Link Between Anxiety and Dry Mouth

[2] Colgate - Can Stress and Other Factors Lead to Canker Sores?

[3] Mayoclinic - Burning Mouth Syndrome

[4] Delta Dental - Anxiety Disorders and Your Oral Health

[5] Mayoclinic - TMJ Disorders

[6] John Hopkins Medicine - Lichen Planus

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About the Author

Years of personal experience with anxiety disorders and panic attacks have led me to devise some pretty creative ways to keep my anxiety in check. In the past, anxiety and panic attacks felt like something I'd have to live with forever. Nowadays, panic attacks are a distant memory for me, and I'm free to pursue passions like writing and traveling the world. Hopefully, the information on this website can help you achieve the same. I do all the writing here myself, so don't hesitate to reach out with questions!

Tyler Ellis

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