The review was conducted by Daiane Peruzzo, PhD, who found that 57 percent 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.
Researchers speculate that the hormone cortisol may play a role in the possible connection between stress and periodontal diseases.
A previous study had found that increased levels of cortisol can lead to increased destruction of the gums and jaw 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, Jr., DDS, and President of the American Academy of Periodontology.
"Patients should seek healthy ways to relieve stress through exercise, balanced eating, plenty of sleep, and maintaining a positive mental attitude," he added.
Peruzzo now calls for more research to be done in this field.
"More research is needed to determine the definitive relationship between stress and periodontal diseases," she said.
"However, patients who minimize stress may be at less risk for periodontal diseases," she added.
The review appears in the August issue of the Journal of Periodontology.