Stress Can Make You Lose Your Teeth

It exacerbates periodontitis

We know that you lose your hair, fertility and potency because of stress. Maybe your mind, too.

Now a new review has found a strong relationship between stress and periodontal diseases; 57% of the studies included in the review found a strong link between periodontal diseases and psychological factors like stress, distress, anxiety, depression and loneliness.

"More research is needed to determine the definitive relationship between stress and periodontal diseases. However, patients who minimize stress may be at less risk for periodontal diseases." said author Dr. Daiane Peruzzo.

Scientists believe that the hormone cortisol could be involved in the possible relation between stress and periodontal diseases. One research revealed that higher amounts of cortisol can provoke increased destruction of the gums and jaw bone due to periodontal diseases. And untreated periodontal diseases (periodontitis) ultimately induce bone loss or tooth loss. Periodontitis is provoked by bacteria that adhere to and grow on tooth surfaces (microbial plaque or biofilms), particularly in areas under the gum line.

Besides bacteria, important "risk factors" include smoking, poorly controlled diabetes and inherited (genetic) susceptibility.

"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. Patients should seek healthy ways to relieve stress through exercise, balanced eating, plenty of sleep, and maintaining a positive mental attitude." explained Dr. Preston D. Miller, Jr., President of the American Academy of Periodontology.

The "pocket size guide" to periodontal health should be considered; depths of 1-2 mm with no bleeding are not a concern but those of 3-4 mm may require a more in depth cleaning (scaling) and root planning. Depths over 5mm necessitate more advanced treatment and patients should pay a visit to their dental specialist.

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