Stress has long been linked to serious health conditions such as hypertension, cancer and other serious problems. Notably, stress is also a risk and possible cause of periodontal disease. Stress is a probable gum disease cause as research suggests that stress hinders the body's ability to fight off infection such as periodontal gum disease.
A July 19, 1999 press release in Chicago revealed that high degrees of financial stress and "poor coping abilities" double the likelihood of developing periodontal gum disease, according to a study released in the July 1999 issue of the Journal of Periodontology.
After taking into consideration age, gender, smoking, poor dental hygiene and diabetes, those who reported high levels of financial strain and poor coping habits had higher levels of gingival attachment loss and alveolar bone loss (both signs of gum disease) than those with low levels of financial stress. The studies of Dr. Robert Genco, chair of the Oral Biology Department at The State University of New York at Buffalo, the periodontal research group at Buffalo, and behavioral scientist Dr. Lisa Tedesco of the University of Michigan "indicate that this ever-present stress and a lack of adequate coping skills could lead to altered habits, such as reduced oral hygiene or teeth grinding, as well as salivary changes and a weakening of the body's ability to fight infection."
In addition to financial strain, depression may be a possible cause of gum disease. An April 19, 2002 press release in Chicago relayed that researches found depressed patients twice as likely to experience "sub-optimal outcomes from periodontal treatment" over one year's time than patients without depression (according to a recent study published in the April, 2002 Journal of Periodontology).