Money Matters Bite – financial stress can impact dental health

Money Matters Bite – financial stress can impact dental health – Brief Article

C.C.

When it comes to finances, we put our money where our mouth is–literally. The way we deal with financial stress seriously impacts our dental health, says Robert Genco, M.D., distinguished professor in the departments of microbiology and oral biology at the State University of New York-Buffalo.

In his recent study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, subjects who used emotion-focused coping skills to handle money matters–meaning they denied or avoided problems–were much more likely to develop periodontal disease than subjects who employed problem-focused coping–or recognizing conflicts and dealing with them actively.

Previous studies have shown that all types of stress seem to weaken the immune system. Financial strain, however, was the only stressor Genco found to significantly affect dental health. It “may be more chronic and common in the population” than problems such as marital distress and job anxiety, he says.

Periodontal disease is “by and large insidious,” says Genco. “It only shows symptoms”–such as the disappearance of bone around the teeth–“when it’s too late.” So people who feel flustered about their finances should try to let go of their stress–or say goodbye to their teeth.

COPYRIGHT 1999 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group