Are You Able to Manage Gum Disease by Managing Stress?
If you’re dealing with gum disease, especially chronic gum disease that seems to recur fairly often, the solution may not lie entirely in your oral health care habits. Yes, it’s vital that you brush and floss regularly—there’s no question there. But studies have shown that learning how to manage your stress may actually help get gum disease under control.
The Science Behind It
Researchers have conducted several dozen studies that looked at how gum disease and stress, anxiety, and depression are connected. They have determined that during periods of high stress, the body releases more of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone can affect the immune system, leaving your gums less protected from the bacteria that cause gum disease.
Stress and Bad Habits
In addition to how your body reacts to stress, most of us handle stressful situations by doing things that aren’t exactly healthy. We eat sugary snacks, start smoking, put off regular cleanings, and may even stop brushing regularly. It can be easy to make excuses for not being healthy during periods of high stress. “I just need a break” or “I’ll get back to a healthy diet next week” are all things you may tell yourself. Unfortunately, once you exchange a good habit for a bad one, it’s very difficult to go back.
How Can You Manage Stress?
Managing stress isn’t always easy, but it can be done. You might find an activity such as tai chi or yoga that helps you relax. For some, any type of exercise is helpful and distracts them from stress. Others might find that talking about the cause of their stress not only helps them process it, it also helps them see solutions to the issue. The trick to really managing your stress is to try different methods until you find the one that works for you.
If you do have gum disease, that might be causing extra stress. Give us a call to make an appointment, and we’ll help you manage this stressful condition.