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Understanding Stress and its Affect on Oral Health

In this tough economic time the unemployment rate is at its most critical since the great depression and many Americans are affected by stress. Stress can affect the mind and the body, including oral health, if it is not treated.

Stress is defined as a physiological response to situations or issues that may not affect a person’s attitude or body positively. There are four types of stress that occur: eustress, distress, under stress and over stress.

  • Eustress is a positive form of stress. This is a motivating type of stress to enable someone to complete a project or job.
  • Distress is a bad type of stress that affects people through fear, frustration and sometimes anger.
  • Under stress occurs when someone is not experiencing positive stress and it can lead to more problems and produce boredom and hopelessness.
  • Over stress is the outcome of stress and occurs when someone is being pushed too hard to meet deadlines.

When stress occurs, more people are affected by poor or negative habits that may impact their oral health such as tobacco or alcohol use as stated by David Cochran, DDS, PhD, President of the American Academy of Periodontology and Chair of the Department of Periodontology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The risk factors of tobacco and alcohol can affect the development of periodontal disease.

A study published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2007 reported that stress will interfere with oral hygiene. Fifty-six percent of participants in this study

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