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Holiday Stress and Its Impact on Gum Disease and Oral Health

Important info from Carl Ern, D.D.S. and the Putnam Dental Associates team.

Important info from Carl Ern, D.D.S. and the Putnam Dental Associates team.

The following article was written by Georgetown Smile Dentistry

It’s the holidays – see your dentist! While many people may be inclined to put off seeing the dentist during this busy time of year, it actually should serve as a reminder of just how essential regular trips to the dentist are. As are many persistent health issues, the overall health of your mouth can be significantly impacted by stress. Stresses – both psychological and physical – can lead to deterioration of oral health. According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, short-term psychological stress can be linked to elevated plaque levels, and physical stress can lead to the gum disease gingivitis. (Caring for the elderly, ailing, or otherwise caregiver-dependent individuals? Turns out their stresses can even manifest in those who care for them – in the form of increased risk for gum disease.)

Chronic stress experts believe that constant stress may lead to some biological function malfunctions, which result in the stress leading to elevated plaque levels and/or gum disease. In addition, those who are coping with stress – as well as those who care for them – may be plagued by depression, letting oral hygiene slide or neglecting it completely.

Indeed, everyone has times of elevated stress from time to time, and some individuals are forced to endure it for years at a time – in cases of high-pressure professions, prolonged illness, and the like. However, it is most important that one is aware of the risks of continued stress, so it can be not simply combated but prevented. (Un-checked stress will wreak havoc on the well-being of the mouth and the entire body!) Poor oral health [gum disease] can cause bleeding gums, and in more serious cases can negatively affect the integrity of not just your teeth but the bone that supports them. Gingivitis can cause teeth to be loose or even fall out, allowing other teeth to shift and cause discomfort and pain.

Per usual, twice-daily brushing and daily flossing every night are the first step to prevent stress from taking its toll on your mouth. In addition, regular visits to the dentist (twice a year for most people) for cleanings and check-ups ensure that no problem progresses unnoticed for too long. And, of course, take care of more than just your mouth this holiday season – take care of you! Despite holiday parties and indulgent meals and festivities with family and friends, do your best to eat right and get exercise… which will help limit the stress in the first place.

Happy Holidays from Putnam Dental Associates

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