Wuppertal, Germany (PressExposure) September 27, 2009 -- The research is based on a thorough examination of 45 patients by three dentists. For each patient the general health, stress level, depression and demographic factors were registered. Afterwards the content of stress hormone (cortisol) was measured in the patients' saliva. These factors were all compared with the patients' development of periodontal disease.
The results of these examinations revealed a close connection between a person's level of stress, depression and cortisol and the level of periodontal disease. The researchers point to several reasons for this connection:
- A person who is stressed and/or depressed is more likely to neglect the oral hygiene routines, which is a risk factor for the development of periodontal disease and following loss of teeth. - Cortisol negatively affects a person's immune responses and thereby the organism's ability to fight infections and bacterial invasions.
Having revealed these psycological and psysiological risk factors for developing periodontal disease, the authors of the research conclude that dentists and dental hygienists should consider a combination of both a physiological and a psychological approach to treating and/or preventing the development of periodontal disease.
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Rosania AE, Low KG, McCormick CM, Rosania DA. Stress, depression, cortisol, and periodontal disease. J Periodontol 2009; 2: 260-6.