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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

Teeth Can Be Casualties of Stress

Last year provided plenty of opportunities to experience the physical effects of stress. In fact, 2020 was so hard on Americans’ health that the Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review devoted an entire article to the subject of teeth grinding, which is often triggered by stress.

Reporter Treva Lind interviewed Dr. Kyle Dosch, dental director at Delta Dental of Washington, who said this particular stress response can do serious damage not just to the teeth, but to the supporting tissues and bone. The result can be an acceleration of gum disease as well as further bone loss.

In the article, Dosch recommends several strategies to address the problem, beginning with reducing contributing habits, like consuming too much caffeine or alcohol and trying to mitigate external stressors. But he also says preventive care is critical too, as Lind writes:

“Preventative steps against gum disease still require good dental hygiene—from regularly brushing your teeth to flossing and healthy diet. However, stress is sneaky in this category as far as the body’s ability to defend itself against infections, including infections of your gums.

“‘Gum disease is a bacterial process,’ Dosch said. ‘Certain bacteria when they get below our gum line, that can create localized infection there. That affects the gum and bone tissue and can lead to bleeding gums and loss of bone.’

“Dental practices address those issues by removing plaque and tartar, which is plaque buildup that hardens or calcifies on the teeth. More plaque can mean more cavities and even periodontal disease. If you notice any changes to your gum tissues, consider seeing a dentist to get ahead of any problems.

“‘When we’re stressed out, it can be harder for our body to fight any type of infection, and that includes periodontal disease,’ Dosch said.”

 Information sourced by Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, of Cariodontal, 310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck, NY. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-282-0310 or visit See ad, back cover.

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