Stress May Play A Role In The Development Of Periodontal Diseases

As everyone knows, stress is linked to many serious health conditions such as cancer, hypertension and other health problems.

Stress is also a risk factor of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a painless infection of the gums leading to loss of bone around the teeth.

If periodontal disease is left untreated, it can result in tooth loss and contribute to other health problems like diabetes, heart problems and low birth weight babies.

When periodontal disease starts, changes in gums are detectable that can be measured and assessed.

It is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. It can affect one tooth or more than one tooth. The disease begins when bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed.

When the disease is mild, the gums become red, swell and bleed easily. The bacteria produce toxins in plaque which irritate the gums. When chronic inflammatory response is stimulated by toxins, the tissues and bones that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Infected gums separate from the teeth.

How stress play a role in the development of periodontal disease?

Stress affects our bodies in different ways. Stress is often expressed by grinding or clenching the teeth. The clenching or teeth grinding causes tooth fracture and support bones of the teeth get weakened. With periodontal disease, bone destruction will be more.

Symptoms of periodontal disease with stress are tension and headaches, stomach ulcers, indigestion, short tempered, restless at night, colitis, intestinal disorders, yawning during the day and tired jaw muscles in the morning.

If left untreated, headaches can cause more severe problems. Stress cannot be cured by treating only dental symptoms. If clenching the teeth is due to stress, then a bite appliance can protect the teeth. The clenching or teeth grinding habit should be identified for the treatment. The symptoms can be reduced by dealing with the cause.

Researchers speculate that the hormone cortisol may play a role in the possible connection between stress and periodontal diseases. A study in the July issue of the JOP found that increased levels of cortisol can lead to increased destruction of the gums and jaw bone due to periodontal diseases. It is well known that periodontal diseases, left untreated, can ultimately lead to bone loss or tooth loss.

Individuals with high stress levels tend to increase their bad habits, which can be harmful to periodontal health.

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