You know that stress can take a toll on everything from your blood pressure to your beauty-but did you know that scope includes your smile? Whether directly or indirectly, stress can have a serious effect on the health and appearance of your teeth and gums.
A high level of cortisol, commonly called the “stress hormone,” is widely known to contribute to weight gain by affecting metabolism and water retention. Lesser known but confirmed by research, however, is cortisol’s contribution to a more aggressive form of periodontal disease.
While it may be difficult to control one’s cortisol levels, there are other, active ways to prevent stress from marring your mouth. A recent study showed that a majority of people have let stress interfere with basic dental hygiene, such as regular brushing and flossing.
Additionally, “stress may lead an individual to abuse tobacco or alcohol,” according to Dr. David Cochran, former president of the American Academy of Periodontology. “These lifestyle choices are known risk factors for the development of periodontal disease, which has been connected to several other chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.”
Letting stress compromise your dental health now can lead to even bigger stresses down the line. Although you may not be able to control the circumstances contributing to your stress, you can take control of how you care for your smile.
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