The American Academy of Periodontology issued a news release 8/9/2007:
“Stress May Leave Your Mouth a Mess; Stress may play a role in the
development of periodontal diseases.”

Here’s their statement:

A literature review published in the August issue of the Journal of
Periodontology (JOP) saw a strong relationship between stress and
periodontal diseases; 57% of the studies included in the review showed a
positive relationship between periodontal diseases and psychological
factors such as stress, distress, anxiety, depression and loneliness.

“More research is needed to determine the definitive relationship
between stress and periodontal diseases” said study author Daiane
Peruzzo, PhD. “However, patients who minimize stress may be at less risk
for periodontal disease.”

Researchers speculate that the hormone cortisol may play a role in the
possible connection between stress and periodontal diseases. A study in
the July issue of the JOP found that increased levels of cortisol can
lead to more destruction of the gums and bone due to periodontal
diseases. It is well known that periodontal diseases left untreated can
ultimately lead to bone loss or tooth loss.

“Individuals with high stress levels tend to increase their bad habits,
which can be harmful to periodontal health. They are less attentive to
their oral hygiene and may increase their use of nicotine, alcohol or
drugs,” explained Preston D. Miller, DDS and AAP president. “Patients
should seek healthy ways to relieve stress through exercise, balanced
eating, plenty of sleep and maintaining a positive mental attitude.”

Patients should to also keep in mind their “pocket size guide” to
periodontal health; periodontal probing depths of one to two millimeters
with no bleeding are not a concern but probing depths of three and four
millimeters may need a more in depth cleaning called scaling and root
planing. Probing depths in excess of 5mm may require more advanced
treatment and patients should talk to their dental specialist.

A referral to a periodontist in your area, additional information, and
free brochure samples including one titled Periodontal Diseases: What
You Need to Know are available by calling 800-FLOSS-EM or visiting the
AAP’s Web site at

The American Academy of Periodontology is an 8,000-member association of
dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of
the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants.
Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the
American Dental Association.

For more information, contact the AAP Public Affairs Department at
312/573-3243 or 312/573-3242.

* EDITOR’S NOTE: Representatives of the media may contact the AAP Public
Affairs Department to receive copies of these JOP studies:

* A Systematic Review of Stress and Psychological Factors as
Possible Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease
* Hydrocortisone Affects the Expression of Matrix Metalloproteinases
(MMP-1, -2, -3, -7, and -11) and Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix
Metalloproteinases (TIMP-1) in Human Gingival Fibroblasts