You may not realize it, but being stressed out can affect your mouth, teeth and gums.

Feeling frazzled can result in mouth sores, such as canker and cold sores. It can also cause tooth clenching and grinding. When you are stressed, you are more prone to eating the wrong foods and bad habits such as biting your nails.

And now, researchers are uncovering mounting evidence of a link between stress and gum disease.

When the body is under stress, it produces more of the hormone cortisol, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. When cortisol is produced in the gums, causes cells to produce more proteins. When this occurs gums become more inflamed and periodontal disease progresses at a much quicker rate.

Left untreated, periodontal diseases can ultimately lead to loss of teeth as well as loss of bone in the jaw. Symptoms of gum disease include tender, bleeding gums, swollen gums, bad breath, and loose teeth.

Individuals with high stress levels—and related psychological symptoms like distress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness—tend to increase their bad habits. They may increase their use of nicotine, alcohol or drugs, for example, and be less attentive to their oral hygiene.

Help yourself counteract the negative impact of stress with some healthy habits, including: regular exercise, balanced eating, plenty of sleep, and maintaining a positive mental attitude. Don’t forget to call Plymouth Dentistry to schedule your regular dental checkups.