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Relax your way to dental health?
Updated: 10/24/2008 4:00:17 PM
 

Relax your way to dental health? It is a well-known fact that stress can have a negative effect on both mental and physical wellbeing. But were you aware of the potential for stress and anxiety to pose a threat to your dental health?

A study published in the August 2007 issue of the Journal of Periodontology draws a link between certain psychological conditions - such as distress, anxiety, depression and loneliness - and gum disease.

Study author Dr Daiane Peruzzo said that researchers are not sure about the exact relationship at play.

However, two possibilities have been proposed. First, a hormone known as cortisol may increase during times of stress, also causing gum disease.

Additionally, Dr Preston D. Miller of the American Academy of Periodontology suggested that people who are under stress may be less focused on dental health.

"They are less attentive to their oral hygiene and may increase their use of nicotine, alcohol or drugs," he said.

Miller added that certain lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise, eating a healthier diet and thinking positively can help relieve stress.

Previous research has linked stress and anxiety to dental health problems including canker sores, dry mouth and temporomandibular joint disorders.
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