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Emotional woes may place a strain on more than just your heart. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), emotional anxiety could affect your dental health.
"There's definitely a link between stress and dental health," says AGD spokesperson Nick Russo, DDS. "Stress affects the immune system, which fights against the bacteria that causes periodontal disease, making a person more prone to gum infection."
While stress has long been linked to heart troubles, researchers studied the effects of stress on dental health at the State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of North Carolina and the University of Michigan. More than 1,400 volunteers, ages 25 to 74, were studied to see how stress and coping abilities affect the risk for periodontal (gum) disease, which causes oral infection, inflamed and bleeding gums and loss of bone.
Those at greatest risk for periodontal disease were those who were highly emotional in dealing with financial problems. The oral health of those with financial troubles was compared with those who had other pressures, such as stress over children, spouse, single life or work. People strapped for cash had the most severe periodontal disease. But here's the good news: Those who dealt with their financial strain in an active and positive manner had no more risk of severe periodontal disease than those without money problems.
Reviewed: January 2012
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