Stress May Wreak Havoc on Your MouthHigh Stress May Contribute to Gum Disease
By WebMD Medical News
Aug. 13, 2007 -- Too much stress may not only spoil your mood, it may also spoil your smile.
There is mounting evidence that there’s a strong link between stress and gum disease, according to a new review of research on the issue.
Researchers found 57% of recent studies reviewed showed a positive relationship between gum disease and stress and related psychological symptoms like distress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
Although it’s difficult to pinpoint the negative effects of stress on your gums, researchers say the studies suggest that elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol may be involved.
In addition, stress may make people more lax about their oral health habits.
“Individuals with high stress levels tend to increase their bad habits, which can be harmful to periodontal health. They are less attentive to their oral hygiene and may increase their use of nicotine, alcohol, or drugs,” says Preston D. Miller Jr., DDS, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, in a news release. “Patients should seek healthy ways to relieve stress through exercise, balanced eating, plenty of sleep, and maintaining a positive mental attitude.”
If untreated, gum disease can lead to loss of teeth as well as bone in the jaw. Symptoms of gum disease include tender, bleeding gums, swollen gums, bad breath, and loose teeth.