Reduce your stress and avoid gum disease and overall healthcare costs

By Deb Nicolson, Patch Mayor | Aug 25, 2017 11:55 am ET | Updated Aug 29, 2017 3:55 pm ET

For most of us, our job and the workplace are almost always going to be a source of stress and anxiety (or else it would not be called work). Many people respond to the stresses of the workplace with unhealthy coping mechanisms like over-eating, smoking, and drinking. These behaviors not only wreak havoc on your waistline and mental health but can negatively affect gum health and lead to some unpleasant consequences. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.

According to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of Americans aged 30 or older have periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease. This equals approximately 64.7 million Americans.


The main cause of periodontal (gum) disease is plaque, but other factors affect the health of your gums:

  • Age
  • Smoking/Tobacco Use
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  •  Medications
  • Clenching/Grinding Teeth
  • Other Systemic Diseases
  • Poor Nutrition and Obesity


Research has shown that periodontal disease is associated with several other diseases. For a long time it was thought that bacteria was the factor that linked periodontal disease to other diseases in the body; however, more recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible for the association. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions; DiabetesHeart Diseases, and Other Diseases.


Periodontal disease may carry other risk factors if you are pregnant. Some studies have suggested the possibility of an additional risk factor – periodontal disease. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small. However, more research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease may affect pregnancy outcomes.


All infections are cause for concern among pregnant women because they pose a risk to the health of the baby. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that women considering pregnancy have a periodontal evaluation.


“Early diagnosis is the best way to prevent periodontal disease,” said Dr. Steven Daniel, DDS, incoming president of The American Academy of Periodontology. “The periodontist who are the experts in periodontal disease, its diagnosis and treatment can help determine if there is a problem and if so what the extent of the problem is and can work with the patient and the patient’s dentist to deal with this problem when its early on and relatively easy to take care. Once that is done they can continue to work with a patient and the dentist to help maintain good oral health for the rest of the patient’s life.” For more information visit


About Dr. Steven Daniel, DDS, incoming president of The American Academy of Periodontology

Dr. Steven Daniel received his DDS from the University Of Tennessee School Of Dentistry in Memphis and was awarded a Certificate in Periodontics by UT and the VA Hospital after two years of specialty training. In 2005 Dr. Daniel was Board Certified and became a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. He has served in all the offices of his local and district dental societies as well as the Tennessee Society of Periodontists and has been a Trustee of the Southern Academy of Periodontology.


About the American Academy of Periodontology

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) represents over 8,000 periodontists—specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of inflammatory diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. Learn more at


Courtesy: The American Academy of Periodontology, a NON-PROFIT 501(c) 3 organization.